This study compares two groups of disadvantaged children, a clinic group with learning disorders (LD) and a matched, successful peer group. An increased family history of mental retardation, behavior, psychiatric, speech, visual, and auditory problems was present in the LD group (each P = <.01). Preeclampsia (P = <.01), birth weight under 2,012 gm (4.4 lb) (P = <.05), and breech presentation (P = <.05) also increased in the LD group. Maternal education was less and sibling cohorts larger in the LD group. Thirteen LD mothers lived with an unrelated male compared to two controls (P = <.01) and 18 LD children lived without a natural mother compared to five controls (P <.01). Factors relevant to recognized LDs include family history, toxemia, breech presentation, birth weight under 2,012 gm, and social-environmental factors such as sibling number, maternal education, and immediate family constellation.