Measuring Recent Apparent Declines In Longevity: The Role Of Increasing Educational Attainment

Journal Article

Measuring Recent Apparent Declines In Longevity: The Role Of Increasing Educational Attainment

Abstract

Independent researchers have reported an alarming decline in life expectancy among non-Hispanic whites not completing high school. However, because US educational attainment rose dramatically during the twentieth century this group is increasingly selective and not truly comparable over time. Classifying education in terms of relative rank, we found little evidence that mortality increased dramatically in the bottom quartile of the distribution, but mortality conditions for whites with low socioeconomic position are, at best, stagnant, and disparities between blacks and whites are entrenched. These findings underscore the urgency of a concerted health equity agenda and the importance of the health safety-net.

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