Toni Antonucci and James Jackson

Toni AntonucciJames JacksonThe lifespans of white Americans without high school diplomas are contracting, reversing the long-time trend of children living longer than their parents, according to a study by researchers including S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago and ISR researchers Toni Antonucci and James Jackson. White women without a diploma experienced the steepest decline, losing five years of life between 1990 and 2008. The new life span estimate: 73.5 years, compared with almost 84 years for white women with a college degree or more. According to a Sept. 20 article in The New York Times, researchers said reasons for the life expectancy drop could include prescription drug overdoses among the young, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, more obesity, and a lack of health insurance. Jackson said white women with little education may also engage in riskier behavior now than women of prior generations.