This paper examines the effects of family size and family type on student achievement in reading and mathematics using data from 30 countries. In most countries, socioeconomic background accounts for a sizable part of the effects of family size on student achievement. There was little evidence for the resource dilution explanation to account for the effects of family size. Socioeconomic background and, in many countries, material resources account for much of the effect of a single-parent family. In contrast, these economic factors account for less of the effect of a reconstituted family. Students from larger, single-parent and reconstituted families tend to be located in the academically weaker parts of the school system. The countries that show stronger effects for family size are not the same countries that show stronger effects for family type. The negative effects on student performance of a single-parent and reconstituted family tend to be stronger in more economically developed countries.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gary_marks/38/