Tag Archives: Life expectancy

A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 2/3

Another way to trace the rise of the modern-day-middle class may be through life expectancy (see Part One), education, and the shift in population from rural to urban settings.

In 1870, only 2% of teens (age 16 – 18) graduated from high school, but as the country’s population continued to move from rural to urban settings, that changed. In 1850, average life expectancy was 39.

By 1900, six-point-four percent (6.4%) graduated from high school.

In 1940, before World War II, 50.8% graduated.

By 1970, that number climbed to 77.1%.

It is projected that in 2011-12, three-point-two (3.2) million will graduate from high school.

In 1800, there were ten permanent colleges and universities in the US. By 1850, that number reached 131.Today, there are 4,495 colleges, universities and junior colleges in the US.

In 1869 – 70, nine-thousand-three-hundred-seventy-one (9,371) college degrees were awarded.

By 1900, that number reached 28,681.

In 1969 – 70, the number of college graduates reached 839,730.

During the 2012–13 school year, colleges and universities are expected to award 937,000 associate’s degrees; 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees; 756,000 master’s degrees; and 174,700 doctor’s degrees. For the educated, the average life expectancy is age 82.

Most college graduates attended the public schools alongside students that dropped out of high school or only earned a high school degree. To learn is a choice influenced by the family and environment a child grows up in—not so-called incompetent teachers.

Continued on September 28, 2012 in A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 3  or return to Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 1/3

There are many ways to prove that America’s public education system is not a failure and is an INCREDIBLE success. This time, I will offer the rise of the modern American middle class as an example:


Today, the definition of the middle class in America is complex. In 1951, sociologist C. Wright Mills studied and wrote about the formation of a new middle class of white-collar workers—does not refer to Caucasians but to the type of work—described as mostly highly (college) educated, salaried professionals and managers (roughly 15 – 20% of households today). Then there is the lower middle class consisting mostly of semi-professionals, skilled craftsmen and lower-level management (roughly one third of households).

Another way to measure the size of the middle class in the US would be subtract Americans that live in poverty in addition to the top five percent. In 2010, fifteen-point-one percent (15.1%) of all persons in the US lived in poverty. That adds up to 47.4 million people.

Then annual-household earnings of $100,000 or more puts those Americans above the middle class. In 2005, an economic survey revealed that 5% of individuals in the US earned six-figure incomes exceeding $100,000 annually—that is 15.7 million people leaving 250.9 million Americans in the Middle Class.

A simple definitions says, “The middle-class commonly has a comfortable standard of living, and significant economic security.”

For a better idea of how many Americans enjoy significant economic security, we may want to take a glance at the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression (1929 – 1942), the highest unemployment rate reached almost 25% in 1933, then started to improve.  Unemployment at its worst, means more than 75% of working adults in America were still employed (possibly defining significant economic security). It took thirteen years for unemployment to recover to the level of 1929. In 1940, unemployment was 15%. In 1941, unemployment was 10%. By 1942, thanks to World War II putting Americans in the military or back to work manufacturing weapons, unemployment dropped to 5%.

However, life in America was not always the way it is today and working to gain an education, with an emphasis on work, has mostly been the big game changer.

For example, before 1860, America had few cities and they were mostly small.  The vast majority of people lived on farms and small rural towns. In fact, in 1800, ninety-four percent (94%) of Americans lived on farms or in small towns near farms.

Then by 2000, seventy-nine percent (79%) lived in urban population centers (cities and the suburbs of cities).

In 1850, the average age of death in years was 39.

By 1900, that average was age 49.

In 1970s, it was age 70, and life expectancy in 2010 reached age 78.3.

Life expectancy has also been linked to education. Those with more than 12 years of education—more than a high school diploma—can expect to live to age 82; for those with 12 or fewer years of education, life expectancy is age 75.

Continued on September 27, 2012 in A Short History of America’s Middle Class – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 3/4

Yes, my wife and me felt it was more important that our daughter be happier as an adult than during her childhood, which is why we left the TV off, no video games, no social networking (at least until her second year in high school), limited the number of school dances she attended, no mobile phone for personal use and focused on her reading books, doing homework, learning ballet, piano, how to change a flat tire, install a toilet, change a lock, install drywall, tile a floor, etc.

And last but not least, we never bought or drank any brand of soda. There was water and then there was water (sometimes there was fruit juice such as apple or orange juice).

Needless to say, many of our daughter’s peers in middle and high school felt sorry for her, because she wasn’t having as much fun as they were. However, our daughter graduated from high school with a 4.65 GPA and was accepted to Stanford University (the only student from her high school that year) where she is starting her third year majoring in biology with goals to pursue a medical degree.

Contrary to popular opinion, she’s happy and loves to dance and play the piano and enjoys reading books. She has a boyfriend at Stanford she loves too and the two share many similar interests. She might want to be happy every waking moment and have loads of fun but she learned as a child that there is a difference between work, happiness, entertainment, bring bored and depression.

To achieve a better chance at adult happiness, her mother and me had to say no to many things leading to boring hours doing homework and studying in addition to reading books to fill the empty hours.

After all, according to the law in California (it varies by state ranging from age 14 to 18), one is a child until his or her eighteenth birthday. Then the child becomes an adult with a life expectancy of at least 84.9 years (on average) if he or she has a college education and earns an above average income. You see, education and income has a significant impact on health and a higher life expectancy and the average college graduate earns much more than a high-school dropout or high-school graduate.

Science Daily reported, “New findings from Harvard Medical School and Harvard University demonstrate that individuals with more than 12 years of education have significantly longer life expectancy than those who never went beyond high school. … Overall in the groups studied, as of 2000, better educated at age 25 could expect to live to age 82; for less educated, 75.”

In addition, The Economic Policy Institute discovered “While life expectancy has grown across the United States between 1980 and 2000, the degree to which people live longer has become increasingly connected to their socio-economic status.” The average life expectancy of the least well-off in 2000 was 74.7 years while it was 79.2 years for those that were most well off—meaning they had more money and usually a better education.

However, if left up to most children in the average family that does not live in poverty, happiness means not exercising, eating lots of sugary foods swallowed with gallons of sugary sodas, watching TV, listening to music, social networking, playing video games, hanging out with friends after school and on weekends, sending daily text messages by the dozens—and according to surveys and studies that is what the average child in America is doing ten hours a day.

Where are the parents?

Then there is this thing about parents blindly encouraging kids to follow their dreams without a realistic backup plan.

Continued on July 26, 2012 in What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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