Another benefit of higher education
In an engaging piece on aging, Gregg Easterbrook, writing in The Atlantic, mentions one reason people for longer life spans. More education.
Jay Olshansky’s latest research suggests that American women with no high-school diploma have experienced relatively small life-span increases since the 1950s, while the life expectancy of highly educated women has soared since then. Today the best-educated Americans live 10 to 14 years longer than the least educated, on average. “Nothing pops out of the data like the link between education and life expectancy,” Olshansky says. “The good news is that the share of the American population that is less educated is in gradual decline. The bad news is that lack of education seems even more lethal than it was in the past.”
Education does not sync with life expectancy because reading Dostoyevsky lowers blood pressure; college is a proxy for other aspects of a person’s life. Compared with the less educated, people with a bachelor’s degree have a higher income, smoke less, are less likely to be overweight, and are more likely to follow doctors’ instructions. College graduates are more likely to marry and stay married, and marriage is good for your health: the wedded suffer fewer heart attacks and strokes than the single or divorced.He also envisions a new role for colleges when everyone is vital into their 80s: lifelong learning institutions. Imagine that, continuing educators....
The university, a significant aspect of the contemporary economy, centuries ago was a place where the fresh-faced would be prepared for a short life; today the university is a place where adults watch children and grandchildren walk to Pomp and Circumstance. The university of the future may be one that serves all ages. Colleges will reposition themselves economically as offering just as much to the aging as to the adolescent: courses priced individually for later-life knowledge seekers; lots of campus events of interest to students, parents, and the community as a whole; a pleasant college-town atmosphere to retire near. In decades to come, college professors may address students ranging from age 18 to 80.