Education for Life

January 03, 2007 1 min read

We already know that kids who stay in school will have better jobs and earn more money. But new research indicates that education actually contributes to longer life. That’s right: Stay in school and live longer. And, as a bonus, those extra years will be marked by better health. “If you were to ask me what affects health and longevity, I would put education at the top of my list,” says Michael Grossman, a health economist who studies the factors that affect human life expectancy. The question of how education is related to longevity was originally tackled by a graduate student, who tracked how life expectancies increased when states began requiring more years of compulsory schooling back in the early 1900s. Life expectancy at age 35 was extended by as much as 1.5 years simply from going to school for an extra year—even after controlling for other factors, such as wealth and race. In fact, education’s effect on lifespan outpaces the influence of geographic location, churchgoing, family background, and health insurance. It’s just one more reason to ensure that every child receives an excellent education.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.