Having a College Degree Can Increase Life Expectancy, Study Suggests

Having a College Degree Can Increase Life Expectancy, Study Suggests

According to a new study, having a college education can help you live longer, even with a decline in overall life expectancy among U.S. adults.

The team of researchers analyzed U.S. National Vital Statistics System data on more than 2.2 million deaths in 2010 and 2.4 million in 2017 among white and black non-Hispanic adults to gauge the impacts of sex, race, and education on life expectancy at age 25 in the U.S.

“From 2010 to 2017, estimated educational differences in adult life expectancy increased for white and black men and women,” the study says. “In almost all race-sex groups, this was associated with both decreasing life expectancy among persons with less than a 4-year college education and increasing life expectancy among the college educated.”


“From 1990 to 2010, life expectancy continued to increase among white adults despite increasing educational differences. Since 2010, however, adult life expectancy declined among white men and women, largely due to the decline in adult life expectancy among all non–college-educated groups,” the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says.

Among black men, life expectancy dropped in the lowest-educated groups and remained unchanged for those with some or completed college education. Black women, on the other hand, experienced a noticeable increase in life expectancy across all education groups, particularly in the highest education bracket.

Related: Parenthood adds almost two years to life expectancy: study

“Nevertheless, increases in life expectancy among black adults were substantially reduced in the 2010-2017 period. Particularly among black men, the stagnation in adult life expectancy during those 7 years ended a 2-decade long improvement in life expectancy for this group,” the study reads.

Overall, it seems improving life expectancy was mostly restricted to only well-educated U.S. residents, which shows an increasing role of inequality in the national trend in life expectancy, the researchers add.

Photo Credit: DRogatnev/Shutterstock.com; Yuttana Jaowattana/Shutterstock.com

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