Friday, June 28, 2013

Why Life Expectancy is Declining among Less-Educated Americans

Life expectancy in the United States has been rising, but studies show the least educated Americans are not enjoying these gains. In fact, life expectancy has been declining over the past few decades among those without a high school diploma. What accounts for these divergent trends?

Most likely, adverse selection. As a larger share of the population graduated from high school and went to college, high school dropouts became less like the average American—a group increasingly comprised of those burdened with problems that lead to higher mortality rates. As recently as 1965, half of women aged 25 or older had not graduated from high school. By 2012, the figure was just 12 percent. The average American once ranked among the least educated. Today the least educated are anything but average.

No comments: