Number and proportion of persons aged 25 and older with less than a high school (12 years) education


Social Environment

Rationale for use of indicator

Adults with less than a high school education and their children are at greater risk of health problems not directly due to the education level, but rather because of other factors that tend to be associated with the education level.

Risk Factors

The more direct risk factors include illiteracy and lack of health information. The associated risk factors include low-paying jobs that tend not to provide any or adequate health insurance, and poor living conditions. The risks for the children begin even before birth; low educational levels are associated with poor maternal health and consequences for the births.


Poor health status for both adults and children.


Ultimately improving educational attainment levels can help to remedy many health problems. In the meantime, attention to the associated risk factors, such as ensuring health insurance coverage, can ameliorate problems.


Institute of Medicine. 1997. Improving health in the community: A role for performance monitoring. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.