What is the connection between life expectancy and education?

The PNAS paper Life expectancy in adulthood is falling for those without a BA degree, but as educational gaps have widened, racial gaps have narrowed by Anne Case and Angus Deaton (3/16/2021) provides an answer. From the abstract:

We construct a time series, from 1990 to 2018, of a summary of each year’s mortality rates and expected years lived from 25 to 75 at the fixed mortality rates of that year. Our measure excludes those over 75 who have done relatively well over the last three decades and focuses on the years when deaths rose rapidly through drug overdoses, suicides, and alcoholic liver disease and when the decline in mortality from cardiovascular disease slowed and reversed. The BA/no-BA gap in our measure widened steadily from 1990 to 2018. Beyond 2010, as those with a BA continued to see increases in our period measure of expected life, those without saw declines.

By 2018, intraracial college divides were larger than interracial divides conditional on college; by our measure, those with a college diploma are more alike one another irrespective of race than they are like those of the same race who do not have a BA.

The appendix has 7 graphs including the one copied here. A few observations: Hispanics with a BA have a greater life expectancy by sex. In fact, a Hispanic female with no BA has a life expectancy similar to that of a White Male with a BA. The gap in life expectancy between Black and White by sex is about the same by BA/no BA (about 1 year in all 4 cases) but the gap between those with a BA and those without is larger.  For example, a Black male with a BA lives almost 3 years longer than a White male without a BA. This is about 2 years for women.  The no BA group has seen decreasing life expectancy, in general, since about 2010, while the BA group has continued with an increasing life expectancy.

I didn’t find the data in the appendix but there is an email to contact an author and they may provide it if you ask.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

Check Also

How’s the labor market for college grads?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s page The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.