For Black Men and Women, Higher Education Means Longer Life

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that a higher education has a significant positive impact on life expectancy. Furthermore, the risk of dying prior to age 65 is rising for people with low levels of education and declining rapidly for college graduates. Black men with a college degree are showing the greatest increases in reducing their premature death rates.

The study examined all deaths for people in the 25 to 64 age group in the period from 1993 to 2001. The data showed that for black men with a college degree, premature death rates fell an average of 6 percent a year compared to black males who dropped out of high school. Black men with a college degree were less likely than other black men to die from heart disease, cancer, and, most particularly, AIDS.

For black women with a four-year college degree, premature death rates declined by an average of 3 percent per year compared to black women with low levels of education. The data showed lower death rates from cancer, strokes, and heart attacks.