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Going to college can help you live longer: every step of education adds 1.37 years to life

Going to college can help you live longer because scientists discover that every extra step in education contributes 1.37 years to your life expectancy

  • Researchers were combing through data from more than 5,000 Americans
  • Race and income were not as strong life predictors as education level
  • Each qualification contributed about a year and four months to the life of a person

Staying at school and going to university can add years to your life, a study shows.

Researchers combed through data from more than 5,000 Americans and discovered that those who remained in education tended to live longer.

Each qualification – such as a diploma or master’s degree – added about a year and four months to a person’s life.

The team said race and money turned out not to be indicators of life expectancy as qualifications did.

Staying at school and going to university can add years to your life, a study shows

Staying at school and going to university can add years to your life, a study shows

How many years a person lives depends on a long list of factors, including where he lives, his ethnicity and employment.

Unraveling these variables and assessing their relative impact is a difficult task.

The study led by the Yale School of Medicine and University of Alabama-Birmingham looked at some of the strongest variables.

They collected data for about 5,114 people in four American cities who were recruited 30 years ago for a longevity study.

A total of 395 people died before reaching the mid-50s.

“These deaths occur in people of working age, often with children, before the age of 60,” said Dr. Brita Roy, corresponding paper author.

Research level, and not race, turned out to be the best predictor of who would live the longest, researchers in the American Journal of Public Health reported.


Swiss women live the longest in the world, suggests a revision of life expectancy from 15 large countries.

Females living in the landlocked European nation can live for 79.03 years.

Australian women are in second place at 78.9 years, with Norway in third place with an average of 78.61 years.

Italy came at the bottom of the pile for women, with women from the nation famous for its cuisine, reaching an average of 72.14.

Women in the UK and the US have a life expectancy of 76.43 years and 76.08, sixth and eighth respectively.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that Australia is at the top of the charts for men’s life expectancy at 74.1 years.

Men in the European countries Sweden and Switzerland became second (74.02 years) and third (73.7 years).

Men from sunny Portugal only have a life span of 64.77 years, making them the last to come from the 15 countries.

For men, the UK is in sixth place (72.33 years) and American rates are slightly worse in eighth place (71.57 years).

The findings were published in August in the journal Population Studies.

Five percent of those who died had graduated, compared to 13 percent of those who dropped out earlier.

The death rate also showed some clear racial differences – about nine percent of black people died at a young age compared to six percent of white people.

However, when looking at race and education at the same time, the differences with regard to race virtually disappeared.

The researchers used a measure called Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) as a projection of life expectancy.

They said that each obtained educational step led to 1.37 fewer years (one year and four months) of lost life expectancy.

“These findings are powerful,” said Dr. Roy.

“They suggest that improving equity in access to and quality of education is something tangible that can help reverse this worrying trend in reducing life expectancy in middle-aged adults.”

The study goes against a pile of evidence that shows how much money people earn as a reliable way to predict their lifespan.

In England there is a striking gap in life expectancy when we look at rich and poor people.

The life expectancy between the richest and poorest women is 7.9 years, and 9.7 years for men, according to a study published in Lancet Public Health, which analyzed data from the Office for National Statistics.