Why is this important

People with higher educational attainment are more likely to live longer and to experience better health outcomes.[i] Education is linked with health through three major pathways. First, education can increase people’s knowledge and cognitive skills, enabling them to make more-informed health-related choices, like refraining from tobacco use or following up with medical appointments. Second, education provides the knowledge and skills necessary for employment, which strongly influences health. More education is associated with a greater likelihood of being employed and having a job with healthier working conditions, better benefits, and higher wages. Refer to the indicators on income and poverty to further explore this relationship. Third, education is linked with social and psychological factors, including sense of control, social standing, and social support. These factors can improve health by reducing stress, influencing health-related behaviors, and providing practical and emotional support.

Rising neighborhood educational levels can indicate that educational levels are rising among existing residents, that individuals with higher levels of education are moving into the area, and/or that less educated residents are moving out of the neighborhood.

How are we doing?

The American Community Survey (ACS) surveys residents on an annual basis; however, five years of aggregated data are necessary provide numbers at a census tract or neighborhood level. Here we are comparing data from the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS data sets. Between those two periods, there was a small but significant increase in the percent of adults 25 years and older, citywide that had an associates degree or higher. Increases within the CMTL boundary were not statistically significant. Higher education rates citywide are about 20 percentage points higher than within the CMTL boundary. Within the CMTL, there is a higher concentration of more educated residents in the census tracts along Van Ness Ave. and Post St., and a lower concentration in the center of the boundary.

Dataset Source

American Community Survey, 2005-2009 & 2010-2014.

* This data only measures educational attainment among adults 25 years and older. Post-secondary degrees include an associates degree or higher.


[i] Egerter, Susan, Paula Braveman, Tabashir Sadegh-Nobari, Rebecca Grossman-Kahn, and Mercedes Dekker. “Education Matters for Health.” San Francisco, CA: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, September 2009.