Longevity and Education

This article is about the disparities of longevity between levels of education and racial groups. The paper examines the impact of race and education on past and present life expectancy trends. It also attempts to dispel the illusion of grandeur that most Americans appear to have about life expectancy. With advances in medicine, technology, genetics, and other health related fields, many just stop examining the data when they hear that life expectancy is going up. This article is an attempt to educate on why life expectancy should be examined past its face value.

Whilst life expectancy is going up in general, a look below the surface provides data the shows an alarming divide between many subgroups in the US. Racial, ethnic, educational, and income differences are all directly linked to causing variations in longevity. In this article the variations in educational attainment will be the main topic. Whist educational attainment is only one of multiple factors in determining socioeconomic status, it is shown to have a heavy influence on all other variables. The rationale behind this article is to provide evidence on education’s influence in longevity, then provide possible solutions for policy makers going forward regarding the wide gap seen between varying ethnic groups. The methodology behind this experiment was to examine the death certificates of Americans and stratify the deaths by sex, age, race, and level of education completed. Then compare the information they found to national averages and statistics, as well as previous studies done on similar topics.

The results of this experiment yielded some interesting findings. The first thing found was that regardless of their level of education completed, it was found that women in the United States live longer than men at every age and ethnic group. It was also found that the Caucasian group, at every age and educational level, outlived members of the African American group. The Hispanic group was found to have the highest reported life expectancy at birth among any of the racial and ethnic categories. However, this is reported with caution as the rates of immigration and emigration cause fluctuations in the data. Another major result was that education has powerful associations in the duration of life for all races, ethnicities, and ages. It was found that there is approximately a 10-year difference when comparing the life expectancy of the most educated with the least educated of a group.

Overall, it can be concluded that education is a very important factor when determining the longevity of a group. Implementing educational enhancements for all ages and races would contribute to reducing the large gap in life expectancy that currently exists.

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