Projects, Grants & Contracts

Family Life Project


The Family Life Projectis charting the lives and schooling of 1,300 children in rural America from birth through second grade. With $30 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, this is the largest multidisciplinary study of rural families and schooling ever undertaken in the United States. It is a representative sample of every baby born in a one-year period in six low-wealth rural counties in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Key findings to date include:  

  • Forty percent of rural mothers who are employed work non-standard work hours, leaving them less time to help their children get ready for school.
  • Child care is difficult to access and the quality of care is extremely low in rural areas.
  • African American families are much poorer than other rural families.
  • The economic crisis has created homelessness and crisis for many rural families.
  • Head Start and other school readiness programs are less available for rural children.
  • Chaotic living conditions are common in these families, negatively impacting children’s school readiness skills.
Principal Investigator:

Lynne Vernon-Feagans

Funding Dates:

2/1/2001 - 6/30/2012

Funding Source(s):

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development