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Children do better at school in more equal societies.
Everybody agrees that education is important and that education benefits societies as well as individuals. People with more education earn more, pay more taxes, are more productive, and happier. Well educated people contribute more to society; they're also more likely to volunteer and to vote. Although good school systems make a difference, the biggest influence on educational attainment is family background, so disadvantaged children do less well at school and miss out on the benefits of education.
In an international analysis published in Lancet, and an analysis of the 50 US states published in Social Science and Medicine, we have shown that scores in maths and reading are related to inequality. In addition, the percentage of children dropping out of high school in each of the 50 states of the USA is, as the graph below shows, also linked to inequality.