Americans with more education live longer, study finds

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 20, 2012

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Despite advances in health care, significant disparities exist in life expectancy between Americans with the highest level of education and those without a high school degree, said a study in the August issue of Health Affairs.

In 2008, white men and women with at least a bachelor’s degree had life expectancies far greater than blacks who didn’t complete high school, data show. Life expectancy was 14.2 years more for white men with college degrees than black men who did not finish high school. White women lived 10.3 years longer than black women in those education categories.

Those gaps have widened over time, the study said. In 1990, the disparities in life expectancy at birth for the most-educated whites and the least-educated blacks were 13.4 years for men and 7.7 years for women (link).

Researchers examined data from multiple sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The study’s authors recommend implementing policies that encourage lifelong learning for people of all ages and races to help improve life expectancy among the U.S. population.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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