Educational attainment and mortality: results from the Sixth Population Census in China

Shangcheng Zhou, Guanyang Zou, Xiaping Chen, Hongxing Yu, Jing Wang, Pengqian Fang, Fujian Song

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Background Health and education are two closely related factors that affect human development. A limited number of studies have been conducted in China, most of which have been based on small sample sizes and with inconsistent results. The study investigates the association between mortality rate and educational level in China based on the sixth national population census in 2010.
Methods This is large-scale population study based on the nationally administrated data sets of population census in 2010, 2000 and 1990. The 2010 census covered a total population of 1 332 810,869 in China.
Results In general, standardized mortality rate decreased as educational level increased. The standardized mortality rate is higher among males than among females with equivalent educational levels. The standardized mortality rate in all the educational groups declined to varying degrees from 1990. 2000 to 2010. The standardised mortality rate declined with increasing educational levels from no education to university undergraduate groups in 1990, 2000 and 2010. The standardized mortality rate declined as the degree of education increased in cities, towns, and villages, but gradually increased at the same educational level from cities, towns, to villages in general. The difference in each region is considerable and the population quality of the developed area is generally high. The percentage of the uneducated population to the total population aged 15 years and over (%) was positively correlated with the standardized mortality rate. By contrast, the percentage of the population with a high school education to the total population aged 6 years and over (%) was negatively correlated with the standardized mortality rate.
Conclusions We found that educational level was negatively correlated with the mortality rate. The crude and standardized death rate is lower among individuals with higher educational level. Together with previous research findings, this study indicates that improving total population education attainment remains an important challenge that requires imperative action, while reducing educational inequities remains crucial for the government.
Original languageEnglish
Article number020604
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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