Percentage of Population Institutionalized by Education Level, 1970-2010
September 28, 2012
Education not only benefits individuals in the form of higher wages: it benefits society by cultivating civic virtues and reducing rates of crime. For instance, the disparity in institutionalization rates among less- and more-educated Americans is astounding. The vast majority of the institutionalized population ages twenty-five to sixty-four are in prison (with the rest in nursing homes), and over the past four decades, the share of Americans without a high school diploma that has been institutionalized has nearly tripled, while the rate for college graduates has remained unchanged. The increasing rates of institutionalization, and in particular incarceration, among the less-educated highlight the social costs of higher crime and the broader costs of men and women not contributing to the well-being of their communities.