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Cleanliness is next to ... education?

Busy parents who have shuffled spring cleaning to the end of their to-do lists may want to think again. According to a University of Michigan study, the cleanliness of the home in which children grow up predicts their educational attainment and earnings more than 25 years later.

"Keeping a clean and organized home reflects an overall ability and desire to maintain a sense of order in a wide range of life's activities," says Michigan researcher Rachel Dunifon. "These are qualities that also seem to be important in predicting inter-generational success.

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Because this is a comprehensive and long-term study, Ms. Dunifon was able to control for socioeconomic background, education, and other factors.

Young adults who grew up in homes rated clean to very clean by inter-viewers completed 13.6 years of school and earned an average of $14.17 per hour, compared to 12 years of schooling and $12.60 per hour for those whose childhood homes were rated not very clean or dirty. For a 40-hour week, that adds up to $3,100 more a year.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor