Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Bad Education Can Lead to an Early Death

In the United States educational opportunity is one of the best indicators of life expectancy. If you grow up in an area with low educational opportunities then you can expect to live a shorter life on average than someone who grew up in an area with higher educational opportunities.

Child Trends has mapped out The Link Between Life Expectancy and Educational Opportunity in cities across the United States. On the Child Trends interactive map neighborhoods are colored to show the average life expectancy (with black being the highest life expectancy) and school educational opportunity is visualized using colored circles (with blue being highest). If the assertion is true that areas with lower educational opportunities have lower life expectancy then you would expect to find lots of orange circles in grey colored neighborhoods and lots of blue circles in black colored neighborhoods (to show a higher life expectancy in areas with higher education opportunities).

Child Trends acknowledge that other factors, aside from educational opportunity, have a role to play in determining life expectancy. For example "the percentage of residents living in poverty and their racial and ethnic composition, contribute much more to life expectancy". In fact I'm sure that lots of economists would argue that both poor life expectancy and poor educational opportunity are often consequences of lower levels of wealth. You can explore the link between wealth and educational opportunity in Stanford University's Opportunity Explorer, an interactive map which allows you to explore how school districts compare in educational attainment. The map allows you to compare test scores and achievement in neighborhoods with different socioeconomic status.

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