The Consequences of Income Instability for Children's Well-Being

Heather D. Hill, Pamela Morris, Lisa Gennetian, Sharon Wolf, Carly Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Income instability is an important and understudied dimension of the established empirical relation between family income and children's healthy development. Frequent fluctuations in income may influence daily processes and routines of family life, but the nature of such effects also may vary by specific patterns of income instability, parents' responses, and children's characteristics. In this article, we review existing theory and research on income, family functioning, and child development to better understand the potential implications of income instability for children's development. We also integrate theoretical insights from developmental psychology, economics, sociology, and social neuroscience to propose a set of testable hypotheses for social science investigations on this topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Household chaos
  • Income instability
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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