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National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2012 May.

Cover of Health, United States, 2011

Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health.

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Mortality

Life Expectancy at Age 25

The gap in life expectancy at age 25, by education, widened between 1996 and 2006 for both men and women.

Life expectancy is a summary measure of health used to gauge the health of a population. It is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age, calculated by summing mortality rates across all subsequent ages, and is derived using life table methodology. Life expectancy at birth for the U.S. population overall was 78.5 years in 2009; at age 25 it was 54.6 years (1). Women have higher life expectancy than men. In 2009, life expectancy at birth was 76.0 years for males and 80.9 years for females (1).

Life expectancy at age 25 in the U.S. is positively associated with education for both men and women. Women at each educational level have higher life expectancy than men.

Between 1996 and 2006, life expectancy at age 25 increased for men and women with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, while remaining unchanged for those with less than a Bachelor’s degree (2). In 1996, on average, 25 year-old men with less than a high school education could expect to live 7.4 years less than those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. That gap increased to 9.3 years in 2006 due to a 2-year increase in life expectancy among the most educated men and no increase among the least educated. Similarly, 25 year-old women with no high school diploma in 1996 could expect to live on average 5.8 years less than those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. By 2006, that gap had grown to 8.6 years due to a decrease in the life expectancy of the least educated women and an increase in life expectancy for the most educated women.

Figure 32 consists of two bar charts, one for men and one for women, showing life expectancy at age 25, by education level, for 1996 and 2006.

Figure 32Life expectancy at age 25, by sex and education level: United States, 1996 and 2006

Excel and PowerPoint: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus/contents2011.htm#fig32

NOTES: GED is General Educational Development high school equivalency diploma. See data table for Figure 32.

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File. See Appendix I, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Linked Mortality File.

References

1.
Kochanek KD, Xu J, Murphy SL, et al. Highlights and detailed tables for Deaths: Final data for 2009. Hyattsville, MD: NCHS; 2009 Mortality multiple cause microdata files. 2012. Available from: http://www​.cdc.gov/nchs​/data/dvs/deaths_2009_release.pdf.
2.
Lochner KA, Parsons VL, Schenker N, Wheatcroft G, Kramarow E, Pamuk ER. Education differences in life expectancy in the United States: 1990–2006. CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality file. [unpublished analysis]

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