A new study has found a link between life expectancy and education, which gives new credit to education and the power it has. Researchers from the New York University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Colorado Denver concluded that they have observed a 10-year decrease in the lifespan of people whose educational achievements are comparatively low. This reduction in life expectancy is comparable to the reduction caused by smoking.

During the said study, researchers analyzed data gathered by the National Health Interview Survey between 1986 and 2004. They particularly focused on data related to projected deaths through 2006. In addition, they also took into account the specific-time survival models related to mortality rates and projected education in various cohort groups.

All these facts and figures were analyzed together with the American Community Survey data pertaining to 2010 US population. These figures allowed the researchers to estimate the number of deaths taking place in a year where lack of education had a role to play.


The researchers used the differences in educational attai9nments from the years 1945, 1935 and 1925 cohorts for forming three primary groups and then predicting deaths of people belonging to those groups.

The predictions were most likely done by comparing: individuals who didn’t finish high school to those who completed their high school education, individuals who have had a few years of college education with those who have succeeded in completing their baccalaureate degree and finally individuals who have any level of education below a baccalaureate degree with those with a baccalaureate degree.

You can read the entire study in the widely read open access journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) One.

According to the study, if the studied population of 2010 had similar educational disparities in mortality as the cohort group of 1945, as many as 145,243 deaths could have had connections with individuals who didn’t finish their high school versus individuals who completed their high school education.

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In similar situations, the number of deaths that could have had connections with people with a few years of baccalaureate education versus people completing their graduation would be 110,068.

Finally, in similar circumstances, the number of deaths that might have had connections with individuals completing any level of education below a college degree versus individuals finishing their baccalaureate degree would be 554,525.



  1. Interesting data, but are they drawing the right findings from it? What is it that’s contributing to longer lifespans? Is it the education itself or the necessary qualities (intelligence, attention span, a studious nature, or some other properties) useful for educational achievement that makes the difference?

    Azerbaijanis have some of the longest lifespans while having minimal educational levels. Perhaps the peaceful and risk-averse qualities of shepherds are similar to what Western high-educational achievers have. Maybe it’s an even more general question of patient, contented Beta personality types versus quick-burning Alpha types?