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Why Millionaires' Kids Earn Better SAT Scores

It's no secret that affluent teenagers perform better on the SAT.
The latest SAT results bear this out, but what I found fascinating about this year's numbers was how even an extra $20,000 in a family's income can give a teen a significant advantage on test day.

When you look at SAT results that are broken down by household income, the results are remarkably consistent. The richer mom and dad are, the better the scores.

A teen from a family making $60,000 to $80,000, for instance, fared worse on the SAT than a student whose family makes $80,000 to $100,000. A teen whose mom and dad barely cracked the six-figure mark earned lower SAT scores than a child whose parents made up to $120,000.

The phenomenon playing out across all 10 income categories that the SAT test makers used. You can see graphics of this SAT phenomenon at The New York Times' Economix's blog. The average boost between every income category was more than 12 points for each of the test sections -- reading, math and writing.

Interestingly enough, the most impressive jump in scores came between students with household incomes ranging from $180,000 and $200,000 and those making more than $200,000 a year. Of course, the families in that last category would include the sort of parents who are still puddle jumping in their own Gulfstreams.

I'm not going to speculate here on why richer kids capture more impressive SAT scores. But if you earn a raise before your child starts studying for the test, it probably couldn't hurt.

Money image by noahwesley. CC. 2.0.