Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  155 / 126 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 155 / 126 Next Page
Page Background

Advanced Education and Mortality Compression in the United States 155

advanced education has become increasingly important in

determining life chances in the United States. The results show that

older Americans with some college but not a bachelor’s degree (13-

15 years of education) do not differ statistically from older

Americans with high school degree or its equivalent (12 years of

education) in terms of life expectancy, modal age of death, and the

standard deviation above the modal age of death. It is those with a

bachelor’s degree or higher (16+ years of education) who show

statistically improved longevity and mortality compression

compared to their counterparts with high school education. In terms

of longevity, individuals with bachelor’s degree or higher show

better mortality performance than those with only some college but

no bachelor’s degree.

To better explain the increasing significance of advanced

education for mortality, it is important to understand the potential

causal mechanism by investigating how education is linked to

mortality. This is also crucial to improve population health through

social and health policies (Zajacova, Hummer, & Rogers, 2012).

Hummer and Hernandez (2013) have summarized four key

pathways: SES (occupation/income/wealth), social and psychological

resources, health-related behavior, and cognitive functioning.

Better-educated people are more likely to have full-time jobs with

higher incomes and lower levels of economic hardship, all of which

are associated with better health and lower mortality; they also have

better social networks and a greater sense of personal control; they

are likely to have healthier lifestyles; they develop high-order

cognitive skills through formal schooling and then use those skills to

enhance their health and longevity (Baker, Leon, Smith Greenaway,

Collins, & Movit, 2011; Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006, 2010;

Hummer & Hernandez, 2013; Ross & Mirowsky, 1995). Therefore,

people who complete college are able to enjoy better social and

economic returns, such as better employment opportunities,

economic success, family stability, social connections, and health,

compared to those who do not (Hout, 2012).