U.S. Life Expectancy Down For White Women With Less Education

    September 21, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

New research has found that, while life expectancy for Americans is rising overall, those with less than a high school education lag far behind others with more education. This disparity is most pronounced when taking race into account.

“The most highly educated white men live about 14 years longer than the least educated black men,” said S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “The least educated black women live about 10 years less than the most educated white women.”

One of the most striking findings of the study, which was published last month in the journal Health Affairs, is that the life expectancy for white women with less than 12 years of education has actually fallen since 1990. Women with less than 12 years of education can now expect to live to age 73.5, where in 1990 that number was four years higher. White women with a college degree or more can expect to live to 83.9.

The reasons for this drop in life expectancy aren’t certain, but The New York Times’ report on the study quotes researchers as stating that prescription drug overdoses, higher rates of smoking, obesity, and a lack of health insurance may be part of the cause.

The study looked at life expectancy by race, sex, and education from 1990 through 2008. The results were profound. The life expectancy for white men with less than 12 years of education was also found to have dropped over that period, by around 3 years. White men with a college degree or better can expect to live to 80.4, while those who don’t graduate high school can only expect to live 67.5 years.

To put things in perspective, Olshansky pointed out that life expectancy for less-educated Americans is similar to that of Americans in the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s. Less-educated black men have a life expectancy similar to the average in 1954, black women 1962, white women 1964, and white men 1972.

“It’s as if Americans with the least education are living in a time warp,” said Olshansky. “There are essentially two Americas.”

The researchers concluded that education and socioeconomic status are “extremely important” variables in determining life expectancy. As such, they suggest that lifelong education is important to closing the gap between how long poor and rich Americans live.

Olshansky can be heard speaking about his research below, in a video provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

  • Billy Boggs

    I have a college degree but since I got it at the age of 50 the diploma would make good toilet paper if it wasn’t so stiff. My life expectancy don’t seem so great but I am married so who cares. After 32 years married to the same woman, who hasn’t let me touch her in a couple of years, what have I got to look forward to. Just more years of this lying cheating woman’s misery. ’til death do us part. Hurry up already.

    • Bria

      Oh wow thats to bad Billy, no one should have to put up with that type of misery from there mate. Unfortunately there are a large number of woman who don’t appreciate the average hard working guy. Im a divorced mother of 2 & maintaining on my own. My X & I are great friends & he has my older son with him. It’s is a battle out here when your doing it on your own. So those who have a good providing mate should value it & appreciate it before they loose it. Good luck to you in your future you seem like a great guy!!

      • JTL

        That would be, “Their” mate, not, “There” mate. Also, it’s, “Lose”, not, “Loose”.

  • http://daveleightonsbrain.com Dave Leighton

    This makes sense, because life all around would be tougher for people with less education. Most of your physically demanding jobs will also go to less educated people, with their bodies breaking down quicker. The stress of just getting by also has to take it’s toll, physically.

    • Louise

      Well observed. Yes if you have to worry about bills, your healthcare, basic necessities, then it takes asever toll.

  • Judy

    Makes perfect sense to me. The more education you have the healthier you may want to eat as you know you are what you eat and yes, it is true so those that eat healthy may have a longer life. People that have graduated college are more likely to be able to afford to have medical insurance as they get better jobs that pay more money and can go to the doctor when they are sick. Others can not afford it and if you are very sick but do not have access to a doctor because you have no money, well you could die. It is all connected.

    • http://none lorenzo

      Some parts of your article make sense. However, you are not what you eat! If that were true…..That would make me a pussy!

    • http://none lorenzo

      If what you are saying about “you are what you eat” that would make me a vagina!

  • Zion

    These are lies from satan against the blood of Jesus in white women. Sounds like a muhammed and muslim statement of hate against Jesus the Living Christ frequencies of life in white women. Time and age with unhealthiness of mortality is only for impure sinners that don’t believe in the power of Jesus blood through entertaining His righteousness. Instead they believe in everything having power against God’s Children. These are anti-christs trying to remove living Christ from the bodies of white women, so shall they receive what comes out of their mouth.

    • mike

      Hey Zion..better pray to Jesus that you obtain a brain, Since God is the creator of knowledge the Trinity would really get hacked you making statements in their behalf and being such a “Raca!!!!”

    • JTL

      Hey Zion: There’s always suicide, buddy.

  • Zion

    Your health comes from Jesus Christ, or You can believe in these peoples idolatry and receive that. You cannot have and believe in both, Jesus and mans antichrist conscience, and recieve both life and death in the same body. It’s one or the other. Jesus or what man tells you is truth.

  • william Corcoran

    It is the horrible cycle in urban communities where the education dedication is not there and the kids parents aren’t enforcing a level for them to succeed. It has been happening for decades. Plus on top of that they may be poor and not have healthcare to go see a doctor when sick. Sometimes those stresses lead to broken families which causes the cycle to get worse. It is an issue that needs to be addressed. Too bad military spending is more important than educating the youth of today so that they become the leaders we need in the future.

    • Sid

      lol your god isn’t real.

      • jean w.

        william, nothing will work as long as poverty-stricken groups continue to have more children than they can take care of.

  • Zion

    I’m sick and tired of your anti-christ anti-God jewish islam so called christian muhammed lies satan. Our health comes from Jesus Christ and His Blood has power over all realities against us and we are immortal and eternal with Jesus Christ right here and now. Let anyone who denies this truth or adds anything to it, receive whatever comes out of their own mouth or hand, in Gods timing, in the name of our lord Jesus Christ. It could be tomorrow.

    • JTL

      Blow me.

    • Linda


  • Zion

    The Lord Your God rebukes your expectancy satan.

    • JTL


  • Mary

    It’s not important how long you live, but, rather, how well you live. You can live forever and be an absolute bitch; or, live
    a lot less and contribute to the world – it’s all up to you!

  • http://webpronews Daniel Roberts

    My grandfather was African-American and lived an active life to age 104. He only had an eight grade education. How long one lives depends largely on genes, life-style. and attitude.

  • JS

    Dumbest video ever! Absolutely bogus study.

  • Brandy

    Why not compare a white man to a white man? And a black man to a black man? My African-American Aunt and Uncle lived into their 90’s my White Aunt and Uncle lived into their 60’s both similar educational backgrounds. This is well researched study.

  • Peace

    …My knowledge of studies are very limited b/c it’s not my area of expertise, but with that said it’s apparent this study is extremely unreliable and invalid. The summary doesn’t make sense. I guess there’s not highly educated Blacks to compare to less educated Blacks. Or maybe this short article decided to exclude that information. Also they are not saying anything new about health factors and lifestyle choices that can affect the life expectancy of various groups.

    • JTL

      Apparently invalid for what reason(s). What are your educational credentials, by the way?

  • momof3

    Lifestyle has everything to do with longevity. Genetics account for only 10%, training/exercise only 10% but nutrition accounts for 80% of our health and wellness. Perhaps the people with a higher education are aware of this?

  • Greg

    or they are smarter…..

  • laela

    why does race have to do with everything? by the way, 65 percent of the white population is over the age of 60 so if the point is made that whites are prevailing in quality of life. they are not making enough younger counterparts to keep up with the rest of the races, especially latinos. so in turn. whites are the first to be extinct in the next 200 years. im proof. im bi racial lol

    • JTL

      Don’t believe everything you hear.

  • Enoughsaid99

    Who comes up with the studies, they should be concerned about all people not living long, not just one race.

    • JTL

      This article ISN’t just about one race. Try reading the article.

    • donnie

      every time i read any new studies, it seems as long as you have a degree, and do a study on a few people, your opinion seems to be respected more because you went to college, some of these thing are the most ignorant studies i have ever heard of

  • ajhdjahkhfk

    This country is still so racist. What kind of crap is this?

    • http://Yahoo Judy

      My father in law is 85, cannot read or even write his name. He was a drunk, smoker and ate what ever he wanted to. He can go all day in a walk. How do we explain that one.
      Or my grandmother lived to be 102 years old, out in the country in Alabama, raised on fresh meat and milk. wow. No college, just grammer school.

      • JT

        Cheers to your family’s great longevity, but they are anomalies. The study is a statistical average. Not everyone fits within the life insurance longevity tables either, but they exist just the same.

  • Pat Harris

    This article is sort of stupid in that it’s totally slanted in a weird way. It talks about the most educated whites and the least educated blacks, but it doesn’t tell you the life expectancy for, or mention the most educated blacks. How long do the Cosby’s live?

    Is it assumed that there aren’t any, or they don’t matter, or they don’t neatly fit into his theories because I’m guessing that the most educated black people, still don’t live as long as their white counterparts and he can’t explain that, perhaps. Regardless, it decreases the appeal and relevance of the article and credibility of the author, in that they didn’t even notice the obvious omission.

  • Catherine

    I think that a lot of this probably has to do with the fact that people who have more education are:

    Harder working
    Are more invested in their lives
    Have more self-discipline
    Have more money and better healthcare
    See doctors more

    I could go on and on. Education is a result of choices that people make. It only makes sense that people who make better choices also live longer. Duh.

    • Jamie

      What an arrogant person you are!

      Yeah, people choose to be born in the inner city where they receive a poor education and can’t go to college.

      Education is a result of having MONEY and opportunity.

      • Catherine

        People born in the inner city can choose to study and get an education as much as anyone else can. I have plenty of friends who grew up in an inner city in the ghetto and got out.

        Also, I am not highly educated nor am I highly motivated. I don’t have great self-control and I am overweight as a result, and poor without health insurance.

        I am not arrogant. I see things clearly. :-)

        • Catherine

          The biggest reason why inner city schools are failing is because the parents there aren’t demanding more from their children. That’s a fact.

          • Catherine

            Because let me remind you that there are grants and scholarships available for students who earn them. There is more available for the poor disadvantaged then the middle class period. There is nothing for the middle class and a lot of middle class parents can’t or won’t finance college for their kids.

        • stacy

          there is no excuse for not being educated…anyone can go to school…I am living proof and I am smarter than I was before I went to college…just do it and stop whining

  • JB

    Does this study seperate violent endings from healthy medical lifestyle endings? No. Ergo to compare culture with genetics is apple and oranges. Young black males are killing each other off in record numbers because that is the culture they are raised by. Its all about who is the top monkey in the pack. Male Chimps have low life expectancies as well because they don’t enjoy top rank, or if they do, a challenger comes along shortly to kill them and assume alpha male position. When black culture evolves beyond Rap music, who’s the baddest n-ggah bravado, and who has the biggest rims, then black life expectancy will increase.

    • cw

      J.B. Is a rocket scientist. I agree with him and his study didn’t cost 10 million.

      Uneducated people tend to live risky life styles. I quit high school and joined the army during the Vietnam war. (not something likely to increase life expentancy). Then used the G.I. Bill to go to college and have outlived my father and mother, neither of whom finished high school. That must prove something. Right?

  • stupidity

    Religion is a means of social control. the end.

    This article is very historical in the sense that it uses racial slurs everywhere.
    I have encountered some incredibly uneducated white people. They don’t tend to live long either.
    Studies manipulate data to gain credibility. They even wasted some funding to make a video too. Lovely way to spend some taxpayers money on something ridiculous. Now I think there should be some study on “American life” so whatever new president, or Obama don’t need to keep cleaning up Bush’s mess.

  • Jim

    It has something to do with lifestyle in general. I am 65 over 12 yrs ed. have seen a doctor once in my life when I had a heart attack, never went back.I live life to its fullest, If I don’t like my job I quit. If I don’t like where I’m living I move.If I want a beer and some fried chicken, I drink it and I eat it. I will die young, but a lot of people will know I was here. I have traveled the world and the states. I believe in quality not quantity. If I die tonight I will die happy.My wife, educated, saw a dr. weekly, took a dozen pills and she died at 64.She worried, I don’t.

    • rac068


  • Susan Asomaning


  • Shellfish

    This is a stupid survey….Every survey Project focus on a certain race ALWAYS doing better…and another race ALWAYS doing BAD..

    Surveys also project a certain RACE have it the most and another RACE is so perfect it does get it at all…

    There are a lot of sick people in the hospital…..when you sick, Sickness does not discriminate … The quality of care you get depends on race and your money…

    As far as less educated people living Shorter….there are a lot of people that is over 100 that’s not rich…..

    So, it does not depend on education…it depends on how you take care of your self and get proper medical treatment when needed…..

    Just because you are RICH and have the best education does not mean you live a quality life nor a HAPPY life…… Money can make you comfortable, but most rich people have people around them that waiting for them to die for inheritance or they are surrounded by FALSE friends…

  • stacy

    let’s face it: there are different cultures in America!!! Not every race is the same and it does not make it racism….just facts. One race ALWAYS tends to be better than another simply because that is the way it is and until it changes, if it changes, it will always be that way…get over it and maybe you can take the FACTS and LEARN something from it and TRY to change it!

  • zombie Croc

    Rod Zombie clip said it best: “Beware of those who seek to posses are bodies and our minds, for the academic world dehumanizes us.” Words to poss. live by.

  • http://yahoo tim

    The article breaks it down into race because different diseases affect some races more then others. This study points out more of a socioeconomic difference in the care one receives. I would imagine people of lower income do not go to the doctor for annual check-ups because they cannot afford to go. They don’t seek help until they have gotten extremely ill and go straight into the hospital. We do know that the longer you wait to get medical attention the worse it can get and is often to late. The study usually breaks a medical study into several groups based on race,age,region,and income. This helps them in finding solutions to issues why a certain group is being effected more then others.

  • rac068

    Its the media!They are killing us along with society.

  • Cinders

    I think Health Insurance and/or access to affordable health care is what makes the difference.

    If you don’t have Health Insurance or any means to see a Doctor when you are ill without skipping another bill you usually don’t go until you either get better or get so chronic you can’t function any longer. At that point many life threatening diseases have progressed to a near fatal stage.

    People with an education usually have a good job, which leads to good benefits, which leads to leading a healthy lifestyle and taking care of health issues as soon as they appear.

    • dwagner

      It is simple when you are poor most live stress out lives trying to figure out how to live with very little.

  • gregg gutschlag

    I am sure that one main reason for the shorter life expectancy for uneducated people is the jobs they do. Not too many people with Phd’s drive a semi or string high voltage wires. The lower the education, the more likely it is that one has to risk their life to earn a living wage.

  • Bud

    I believe the study itself if this article even comes close to representing it, is totally inadequate, presumptuous and doesn’t really say much about anything. One of the worst causes are totally inadequate and stupid parents affecting their children who will copy them or be self destructive in their habits. I also doubt that the total loss of values and family stability is one of the meaningful causes in addition to the causes given.

  • Matthew

    Is this article purposefully omitting educated black men and women? Why is it comparing highly educated Whites to less educated Blacks, highly educated White females to less educated Black females? Should it not show unbiased results, if the results are based on race, sex and education? (i.e. Highly educated Blacks vs highly educated Whites vs highly educated Hispanic Americans vs highly educated East Asian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, European Americans ect. vs highly educated ect. Then the less educated in the exact same way. The reader should be the only one to form bias. SHOW ALL THE RESULTS!!

    • hacimo

      If they showed all the results then it would be more difficult for the authors to push their policy bias. Clearly the statistics are cooked up to advance the idea that more money needs to be spent on health care for the poor. Any numbers which would tend to suggest a race or lifestyle as a factor must therefore be suppressed. It is an old trick. I think it was Mark Twain who said there are three kinds of lies; white lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    • Tom

      I agree. This article is clearly biased. Thankfully it seems a lot of “educated men and women” whatever our races are reading it and calling the author on his attempt at misleading his readers. Shame on you webpronews and Sean Patterson.

  • Quisia

    The truth behind the matter is not color, or race, it is a matter of education which directly correlates to your paycheck;-or how much money you make so how much health insurance can you afford? The sad truth is, it is not about race, it is about MONEY! No one can afford not to have a good education to get a decent paying job so that they can afford decent health insurance. Those who don’t get a decent education that helps bring home the money can expect to be in the “Free Hospital Line” for Life, if they don’t find something that will bring in the serious cash flow!

    • hacimo

      Nonsense. Have you not heard of medicaid? If you make less then the poverty level of income then you qualify for this program and it provides excellent coverage at zero cost to the recipient. The benefit is better then what most people who pay for their Insurance through a workplace plan can expect. Unfortunately no amount of health care will really help you if you smoke, over eat, get no exercise, take recreational drugs and engage in unprotected sex. These activities correlate with low income and hence poor health correlates with low income. It does not prove a causal relationship between money and health. It is simply a consequence of statistics.

      • nostromokid

        In my judgment, Quisia made a good argument. You say Medicaid provides better care than those with workplace health insurance. I know people on Medicaid, and Medicaid is no different than other things in life: you get what you pay for. Try calling a few well respected specialists and tell them you only have Medicaid. Note the response. Then call back later with the same story but tell them you have a low deductible plan with Blue Cross, Aetna, Fortis, etc. It does go back to the cycle of money and is not simply a consequence of statistics.

        • Tracey Brody

          It’s not about health insurance, its a fact that less education means harder physical labor. Braun not brain paying the bills will take a toll on your health and body.

  • me

    Health insurance would not be important if people took better care of themsleves. Inexpensive supplements are a better health aid than expensive drugs. Drugs fight desease, goood supplements strengthen the body and prevent desease.

  • ageanus

    I am guessing diet is playing a large roll in the decline of white women – that or they are working themselves to an early grave.