According to an insightful new study published in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, the average level of education in any given country correlates somewhat directly with life expectancy at birth. Experts are saying that this new data encourages the better education of the very young as well the pursuit of lifelong learning as a means to improve life expectancy.
Anic Novak, with the NGO Association for Education and Sustainable Development, further explains how, in Slovenia, life expectancy at birth has improved by 21 years in the last 50 years. Between 1950 and 1955, life expectancy at birth was only about 46.6 years; but in the 2005-2010 period, life expectancy has risen to 67.6 years. But in less developed countries, Novak attests, the average life expectancy is 11 years lower than the life expectancy at birth of those countries more developed.
But, more importantly, several studies also show that education appears to be linked to life expectancy. Novak reports, “A higher education level among young women positively affects their reproductive health and their status in a family, community and society,” adding that one possible factor could be that “More educated women are less likely to get infected with HIV which further increases life expectancy at birth.”
Still, other data shows that increasing formal education among younger people does have a positive affect on their eventual professional career and, maybe more importantly, their standard of living and overall life expectancy at birth. In addition, the researchers also show that teenage pregnancy and teenage motherhood also appears tob e associated with lower education of young women, as well as other variables like lower income; these have also been connected with a lower living standard and, of course, a lower life expectancy at birth.
With this basic understanding, the team has gone on to statistically test the importance of higher education (and its relation to age) on data from at least 187 countries to also examine if gender inequality negatively impacts schooling and, of course, eventual life expectancy. They also aim to determine if schooling is, in fact, one of the most significant determinants of life expectancy at birth.
In conclusion, though, the team says, “Our research confirms the importance of a country’s education level and implies that societies should encourage education among young people as well as education of adults through lifelong learning programs.”