The Effect of Prenatal Disaster Exposure on Educational Outcomes at Third Grade

Sarah C. Fuller, Duke University

This study looks at the impact of exposure to natural disasters during pregnancy on the education outcomes of North Carolina children at third grade. Combining North Carolina administrative data on births and school performance with disaster declarations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allows identification of children who were exposed to disasters in each trimester of prenatal development. Using a fixed effect strategy, these children are compared to other children born in the same county who were not exposed to disasters while in utero. Results suggest that children exposed prenatally have lower scores on third grade standardized tests in math and reading. Additionally, results suggest that these effects are more concentrated among children in disadvantaged subgroups.

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Presented in Session 170: Contextual and Environmental Influences on Children’s Health and Well-Being