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Places with more college graduates tend to foster better lifestyle habits overall, research finds


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Study authors David M. Cutler (left) and Edward L. Glaeser. Credit: Chris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

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Study authors David M. Cutler (left) and Edward L. Glaeser. Credit: Chris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Having more education has long been associated with better individual health. But these benefits are also contagious, say co-authors A New worksheet.

“It’s not just that individuals with more years of education are healthier,” said David M. Cutler, the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics. “The thing is, even people with fewer years of education — for example, people with only a high school diploma — are healthier when they live around people with more years of education.”

The paper examines why we see cities with higher numbers of college graduates Decreased mortality rates For residents in general. This is not due to spatial sorting, or the practice of moving to live among those with similar customs. The researchers also did not find a particularly strong relationship with factors such as clean air, lower crime rates, and high-quality health care infrastructure. Instead, most of the explanation includes rates of smoking, physical activity and obesity.

Co-author Edward L. Glaeser, the Fred and Eleanor Glemp Professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Economics at Fred and Eleanor Glemp University, says this pattern has to do with a society’s shared culture. He added: “Smoking, for example, is a social activity.” “Basically, being around other smokers is fine if you’re a smoker, but it’s usually very annoying if you don’t smoke.”

Glaser, urban economist and author “Triumph of the city” (2011), have spent decades studying the extent of variation Education levels It plays throughout American society. One well-established finding is fears Economic flexibility. “If you ask yourself, what American cities were able to transform themselves after the very difficult period in the 1970s and 1980s? The educated places like Seattle or Boston did that. The less educated places did not,” Glaeser said.

For his part, Cutler A. said: Health economistHe has spent the past few decades analyzing the strong relationship between education and individual health outcomes. All the while he continued to collaborate with Glaeser to explore obesity, SmokingAnd Other health-related behaviors At the community level. Economists have reconsidered these issues in Book 2021 “City Survival: The Future of Urban Life in an Age of Isolation.”

more information:
Jacob Baur et al., The effects of human capital and health: Does living around college graduates extend life? (2024). doi: 10.3386/w32346

Provided by the Harvard Gazette



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