The association between educational attainment and longevity using individual-level data from the 1940 census


Education, Longevity, Heterogeneity, Sex disparities, Individual data


We combine individual data from the 1940 full-count census with death records and other information available on the Family Tree at to create the largest individual dataset to date (17 million) to study the association between years of schooling and age at death. Conditional on surviving to age 35, one additional year of education is associated with roughly 0.4 more years of life for both men and women for cohorts born 1906-1915 and smaller for earlier cohorts. Focusing on the 1906-1915 cohort we find that this association is identical when we use sibling or twin fixed effects. This association varies substantially by place of birth. For men, the association is stronger in places with greater incomes, higher quality of school, and larger investments in public health. Women also exhibit great heterogeneity in the association, but our measures of the childhood environment do not explain it.

Original Publication Citation

Lleras-Muney, Adriana; Joseph Price, and Dahai Yue. “The Association Between Educational Attainment and Longevity Using Individual-level Data from the 1940 Census.” Journal of Health Economics, 84, 2022.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Elsevier B.V.




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor