People With Better Education Live Longer in Same Income Group: Study

The unmet demand for higher education in South Asia is three to four times and its average life expectancy is the lowest in the region

BE2C2 Report — People with university/college education were not only more likely to be in the higher earning groups, but lived longer than others in the same income group without higher education, new research has found.

The finding is backed by study that included data from over 3 million persons aged at least 40 years between 2005 and 2015 (10 years).

The decade-based research also found that rich people live longer than poor generally, even in countries with low inequality such as Norway– Norway is ranked the fourth-most equal country in the OECD.

The biggest causes study found of life expectancy differences between the rich and poor were cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dementia in older age groups, and substance use deaths and suicides in younger age groups.

Life expectancy is, in the statistical sense, the number of years to be lived.

Researchers also looked at the data and found the richest 1 percent of women live 8.4 years longer than the poorest 1 percent. For men, the difference is even bigger – 13.8 years.

The comparatively low percentage and poor quality of education in South Asia, as reflected in low learning levels, traps many in poverty and prevents faster economic growth.

World Bank

And while life expectancy is improving for the wealthy, the same can’t be said for the poor, said the findings.

Comparing the results to the US, which has much greater inequality, the researchers found while the rich in both countries have about the same life expectancy, Norway’s poor and middle-income earners lived longer than their American equivalents.

The researchers put this down to Norway’s “largely tax-funded public health care system” (generally part of a state-backed welfare system), which the US doesn’t have, and “more evenly distributed income and wealth”.

New Zealand ranks closer to the US than Norway when it comes to inequality, the study shows.

In other words, education pushes income level and life expectancy.

The demographic time bomb of a youthful population, the pace of social change and South Asia’s elevated position in the new economic order has created a critical mass of latent potential.

Times Higher Education

So what about South Asia? While an estimated 30 million or more are enrolled in tertiary education systems across the region, the unmet demand is estimated at three to four times this number.

Poor level and quality education is holding it back, the Asia World Bank says.

Tertiary education (higher education) refers to any type of education pursued beyond the high school level. This includes diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, and associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Even though there’s a rising demand in South Asia for higher education it is currently not being effectively met, despite its growing importance for economic development. The World Bank and the Times Higher Education also point this out.

(BE2C2 Report is a data journalism initiative of Irshad Salim Associates, a New Jersey, USA, based consulting firm– in association with BE2C2 in Pakistan)