Mortality and Life Expectancy

This article examines the changes in mortality and life expectancy based on education status. The authors examined socioeconomic factors in the 80’s and 90’s and the role it played on the longevity of someone’s life. The main factor looked at is educational status, however, income and availability of resources were also examined.

The rationale behind this experiment is to determine how mortality effects different ethnic groups in relation to their educational status. By doing this one can determine whether education or different ethnic background plays a bigger role in the mortality rate of a group. To begin the experimental data was obtained on mortality trends and education. Life expectancy trends were also obtained for various age-sex-race-educational groups. This data was then analyzed by computing education and life expectancy against one’s own race-sex group and the entire population. Also, specific causes of mortality were taken into account and analyzed within the data. This analysis resulted in a couple of interesting findings. The first major finding was that life expectancy for higher educational groups increased exponentially more than lower educational groups, regardless of factors like ethnicity and sex. When analyzed with other cultural factors it was found that the growing life expectancy educational gap was most pronounced in women. Another interesting result obtained was the disparity between race-sex groups was falling. The data began to grow increasingly more dependent on the level of education and less on a person’s ethnicity.

In conclusion, the experiment shows your mom wasn’t kidding when she said school is important. The level of educational attainment of someone is directly correlated to the longevity of their life. This also proves that socioeconomic factors such as GDP and income increase life expectancy. It is possible to infer this because higher education leads to better paying jobs, otherwise the motivation for educational obtainment would be next to nonexistent. Another conclusion drawn was that disease related morbidity rates were lower for people in the higher educational bracket. This is an interesting finding as one would assume disease wouldn’t be biased towards an education level.

Overall, I thought this experiment was okay. It had areas that were interesting and some that were confusing and poorly explained. The experiment started as a look on morbidity and life expectancy due to education. However, it quickly turned to an examination of morbidity rates due to specific diseases and failed to make much of a connection on why education plays a role. I feel that the abstract failed to inform the reader of the main purpose of the experiment.

Meara, Ellen R., Seth Richards, and David M. Cutler. “The gap gets bigger: changes in mortality and life expectancy, by education, 1981–2000.” Health Affairs 27.2 (2008): 350-360.


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