Communications Officer, Directorate for Education
The link between education and social benefits has long been recognised, as far back as Ancient Greece when Aristotle and Plato pointed out that education is central to the well-being of society. More recently, in the past few decades, research has supported this conventional wisdom, revealing that education not only enables individuals to perform better in the labour market, but also helps to improve their overall health, promote active citizenship and contain violence.
So how can education predict social outcomes such as life expectancy, civic engagement and general life satisfaction?
The latest issue of Education Indicators in Focus seeks to answer this question by comparing the social benefits of education in selected OECD countries.
Data show that life expectancy is strongly associated with education. On average, among 15 OECD countries with available data, a 30-year-old tertiary-educated man can expect to live eight years longer than a 30-year-old man who has not completed upper secondary education.
Data also show that adults who have attained higher levels of education are generally more likely than those with lower levels of educational attainment to report stronger civic engagement, in terms of voting, volunteering, political interest, and interpersonal trust.
Apart from raising income levels, education has the potential to help individuals develop skills, improve social status and gain access to networks that could lead to enhanced social outcomes. By fully recognising the power of education, policy makers could better address diverse societal challenges.
For more information
On this topic, visit:
Education Indicators in Focus: www.oecd.org/education/indicators
On the OECD’s education indicators, visit:
Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators: www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012
On the OECD’s Indicators of Education Systems (INES) programme, visit:
INES Programme overview brochure
Chart Note: e figures describe the differences in the expected years of life remaining at age 30 across education levels.
1. Year of reference 2009.
2. Year of reference 2005.
3. Year of reference 2006.
4. Year of reference 2008.
5. Year of reference 2007-10.
6. e OECD average is the average for those countries shown in the chart.
Countries are ranked in descending order of the difference in life expectancy among men at age 30.
Chart source: Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators, Indicator A11 (www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012)