For more years than I care to count, I’ve been writing about the benefits that accompany education. Decades of research by various organizations have shown that the more education one has, the better the person’s life will be. Most reports center on the relationship between years of education completed and income, but many other factors are affected.
Now, a new study by Robert A. Hummer, a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and Elaine M. Hernandez, a post-doctoral researcher at the same institution, shows that there is a close correlation between how much education one has achieved and how long he or she is likely to live. “The Effect of Educational Attainment on Adult Mortality in the United States” has been published by the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C.
In 1900, life expectancy (the average number of years that a newborn baby would experience before death) in the U.S. was barely 50. The main reason for this low number was that many children died of diseases like measles or conditions like diarrhea. But, as we moved into the 20th century, we began to develop vaccines and medications to control these ailments.
By 1960, women’s life expectancy at birth was 73.1 and men’s was 66.6. At the time, the rates for men and women were the reverse of those in less economically developed countries where men outlive women. The reason was that women in places like sub-Saharan Africa or southeast Asia were much more likely to die during or as a result of childbirth than women in wealthy countries...