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Study: It's better to have rich parents than be smart

A recent report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) finds that there is a correct answer to the often posed hypothetical of being born with a big brain or a big bank account.

The big picture: In "Born to Win, Schooled to Lose," researchers found that being born "affluent" but dim carries a 7 in 10 chance of reaching a high socioeconomic status as an adult, while being born intelligent but "disadvantaged" means just a 3-in-10 shot.

Details: "The study found that a kindergarten student from the bottom 25% of socioeconomic status with test scores from the top 25% of students has a 31% chance of earning a college education and working a job that pays at least $35,000 by the time they are 25, and at least $45,000 by the time they are 35," CNBC's Abigail Hess reports.

  • "A kindergarten student from the top 25% of socioeconomic status with test scores from the bottom 25% of students had a 71% chance of achieving the same achievements," Hess writes.

How they did it: Researchers analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), tracing students from kindergarten to adulthood, assessing how they did on standardized math tests.

Go deeper: Being 30 then and now