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Adult Educational Attainment
The Adult Educational Attainment indicator measures the population 25 years and older that have received their high school diploma (or its equivalent). Educational attainment can be tied to influences on health such as employment outcomes, income, and health behaviors, which have been linked to increased physical and mental health. The statistics comparing the health of Americans based on education are striking. Data demonstrates that the death rate declines for men and women with higher educational attainment, and the likelihood of very good or excellent personal health are greater with each higher degree of educational attainment. At age 25, U.S. adults without a high school diploma can expect to die nine (9) years sooner than college graduates. According to one study, college graduates with only a Bachelor's degree were 26% more likely to die during a 5-year study follow-up period than those with a professional degree. Americans with less than a high school education were almost twice as likely to die in the next 5 years compared to those with a professional degree. Among whites with less than 12 years of education, life expectancy at age 25 fell by more than 3 years for men and by more than 5 years for women between 1990 and 2008. By 2011, the prevalence of diabetes had reached 15% for adults without a high school education, compared with 7% for college graduates. Educational attainment has also been shown to have a multi-generational impact: children of mothers with higher levels of education tend to have better health compared to the offspring of mothers with lower educational attainment.