How does education affect our lifestyle choices?
Education doesn’t just improve our minds, it also impacts our choices in lifestyle. For example, according to the National Center of Education Statistics, of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 7% are unemployed while only 5% of people with less than high school education are unemployed. When it comes to health and well-being, education also has an impact on lifestyle choices and outcomes as well. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, people with at least some college experience can expect to live about three years longer than those with only a high school diploma or less.
The rich are more educated
One of the easiest ways to understand how education affects wealth is to compare income groups with different levels of educational attainment. According to a 2016 study by American Enterprise Institute researcher Richard Reeves, nearly half of households headed by an individual with a bachelor’s degree had incomes above $100,000 per year. For those without a high school diploma, only 5 percent fell into that category. In other words, money doesn’t always go to money—but it often goes to people who have more of it. The numbers suggest that education can be an important tool for staying rich and creating wealth in America.
Women with higher degrees marry later
Women with higher levels of education tend to get married later in life, further explaining why women who’ve completed their bachelor’s degrees and/or master’s degrees are more likely to remain single. As illustrated above, completing a bachelor’s degree adds two years to a woman’s average age at first marriage; having a master’s degree bumps it up by another year. These numbers might not seem significant, but they can make a big difference when you consider that most women want to be married before they turn 30. In fact, according to data from Pew Research Center, 85% of never-married American women believe that marrying before 30 is important—and nearly half say that 25 is too old for them to marry for the first time. With these statistics in mind, it’s no wonder so many highly educated women have trouble finding husbands!
Men with higher degrees marry less frequently
Men with degrees marry at lower rates than men without college degrees, according to a new study by Demographic Intelligence. Men with bachelor’s degrees are 60 percent less likely to marry than high school graduates. This trend holds true among black, white, and Hispanic men. While 11 percent of high school-educated black men aged 25 to 34 were married in 2008, only 4 percent of those with bachelor’s degrees were married. The number was higher for white and Hispanic men: about 16 percent for both groups.
Women with bachelor’s degrees were also less likely to be married than women without degrees, though not as much as men. The data showed that 19 percent of high school-educated white women were married, compared with about 15 percent of white women with bachelor’s degrees.
The more educated you are, the more likely you are to be happy
Study after study has found that better-educated people are more likely to be happier. In one survey, educational attainment emerged as a bigger factor than income in predicting well-being. The key word here is educated — people with college degrees and graduate degrees reported higher levels of happiness than those who only have a high school diploma.
Those with college degrees have a lower risk of depression and anxiety than people who never finished high school. In another study, half of those with a high school diploma reported they were not too happy or not at all happy compared to just one-quarter of college graduates. College grads are more likely to be married and earn more money. College grads are less likely to be obese and engage in risky behavior such as smoking, excessive drinking or illegal drug use.
The risk of divorce decreases with each level of education you have completed
1) at least a high school diploma – 46 percent decrease, 2) Bachelor’s degree – 25 percent decrease, 3) Master’s or professional degree – 14 percent decrease. In addition to divorce risk, levels of education also appear to impact living arrangements and socioeconomic status. High school dropouts are three times more likely to live in poverty than those with a college degree.
Children of parents with more education tend to have better socio-economic outcomes. The likelihood of being a high school dropout, for example, is reduced by two-thirds if your parents are college graduates.
More educated women have healthier children
Women with higher levels of education are more likely to breastfeed and delay their children’s introduction to solid foods than women with lower levels of education. Women with high school degrees or less were also more likely to feed their children unhealthy snacks like chips and candy.
A study published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal surveyed 4,425 women from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Each woman was interviewed about her birth experience and current feeding practices. The study found that higher levels of educational attainment were associated with healthier feeding patterns among children ages 12 to 18 months old. More educated women were more likely to breastfeed, delay solid food introduction and provide healthier snacks for their children.
You’re better at investing when you have higher levels of education
A high school graduate who invested in an S&P 500 index fund would have earned over $170,000 more than a high school dropout, who invested in an S&P 500 index fund. Clearly, you’re better off finishing your degree. However, there is a catch…you need to actually attend classes to get that benefit!
A recent study by Fidelity Investments shows that higher levels of education are correlated with lower levels of risk when it comes to investing. Someone who invests their money in an S&P 500 index fund and has only completed high school would have earned $300,000 less than someone who went on to receive a bachelor’s degree or Masters’s degree, both of whom invested in an S&P 500 index fund. Clearly, more educated people tend to make better investment decisions.
Higher levels of education improve your health outcomes in old age
According to research by Imperial College London, higher levels of education can improve an individual’s health outcomes in old age. Those with university degrees can expect to live longer than those without; moreover, they are less likely to suffer from cognitive impairment and have a lower risk of heart disease. Further, graduates tend to be more physically active as well as alcohol- and tobacco-free, thereby lowering their risk of developing cancer or chronic illnesses like diabetes.