Standard of living is used to refer to the level of comfort, wealth, available goods and necessities to a certain socioeconomic class of people living in a certain geographical area. When we talk of standards of living, we are looking at factors that affect the living status of different people such as their incomes, availability of housing, access to health care, availability of quality jobs, hours of working required to afford basic necessities, number of vacations among other factors that are used to determine the standard of living. It is worth mentioning that education plays a major role in improving the living standards of the people. The reason is that higher education equips the people with the necessary knowledge and skills to become competitive in the job market thus leading to better incomes and improved standards of living among the people.
In the American society today, there are different classes of people who are categorized depending on the kinds of lives they lead. These classes of people are mainly defined on the basis of the level of education, level of income, and access to basic amenities. There is the lower class which is often characterized by the poor people who in most cases are not educated or have low levels of education. They live in poor neighborhoods where access to basic necessities is a major problem. There is the middle class that mainly comprises of people who are educated but not well enough to acquire better earning jobs. As a result, the middle class has jobs that earn the just enough for their basic needs (Jackallenyehuda). Then, there is the ruling or the high class of people. The people in this class are very well educated and hold good jobs and businesses. Higher education, therefore positively affects the standards of living.
It is worth mentioning that when it comes to standards of living, people first consider their financial status by first looking at what they can comfortably afford. As a result, the standard of living has been directly linked to the economic status of a person. The standards are measured depending on the real income per person. The real income of the people is also determined by the jobs or their everyday jobs. Additionally, jobs are directly linked to the one's level of education. Therefore, education is the basic factor that is used to determine the type of work a person can get and thus, the level of income which determines their standards of living. Education also determines the economic status of the nation at large. The reason is that an educationally empowered nation is seen in its economic status. It is evident that nations that have invested in higher education have low rates of crime and unemployment leading to a stable economy while nations that have not invested in good higher education have high rates of crimes and lag behind in their economic status.
In essence, most of the nations and especially in Africa are investing more in higher education. In the past, the African nations have invested more in primary education. Their main aim was to encourage more children even from the remote regions to attend primary school. The government at the time did not focus more on the level of education but just joining the primary level of learning. As a result, Africa nations were lagging behind in their economic levels. However, in the recent years, most of the African government are focusing and investing more in the higher education. There has been an increase in the number of colleges and university offering different courses that help the skills and knowledge of the people. The tertiary institutions have also seen an increase in the number of students pursuing different courses (Van and Lucy). As a result, the people with higher education have higher incomes and leading to a much stable economy.
From research, there is a great relationship between higher education and increased economic development. This is from the human capital view that sees higher education to increase the knowledge and skills that result to better abilities in the job market and the business world leading to higher incomes. When the people receive higher incomes, they are able to afford basic needs such as good housing, good health care, even better education, clothing, food, and sometimes even a few luxuries. At the end of the day, this leads to economic growth and development of counties. It is worth mention that growth of the economy will increase the living standards of the people.
Consequently, it will lead to a growth in other different sectors. For instance, economic growth will lead to increased consumption of goods and services. As the consumption of goods and services does up, the prosperity of the businesses and the nation at large will increase leading to a more stable economy. Secondly, it will lead to improved public services from the increased tax revenues. With prosperity in business and the entire economy, there will be increased revenues that the government can use to develop public services such as infrastructure, health, and education. It will then improve the quality of life for the people through affordable health. Better education systems and standards will offer diverse literacy skills to the people thus creating better opportunities for growth (Van and Lucy). Thirdly, economic growth reduces the rates of poverty and unemployment by creating more jobs where more people can be absorbed into. The people can now work effectively and earn a decent living thus reducing the level of poverty. Lastly, it reduces social problems that are caused by unemployment such as crimes and alienation.
Notably, the living standards of a county depend on its ability to produce goods and services. Therefore, there is a direct connection between living standards of the people and productivity. Productivity is about efficiency where the average income of the people is determined by the rate of productivity. Productivity can only be increased with increased knowledge and skills in the people (Kezar 11). Therefore, for productivity to be increased there must be education where the people can learn the necessary skills and knowledge to increase production. Increased production leads to an improved economy that assures an improved quality of life which cannot be achieved without higher education.
Additionally, at a personal level, students who acquire high levels of education attain a wide array of personal, monetary, as well as other lifelong welfares that come with the skills gained in school. One of the major benefits is that higher education offers people the opportunity to work in better positions where they can earn better incomes that can afford them better living standards. With a good income, a person can afford a good housing in a good neighborhood, clothing, better healthcare, food, and education. They can also afford luxuries such as vacations and other luxuries associated with high standards of living. Secondly, the people who have acquired higher levels of education are able to effectively manage their resources, time, finances and other important factors of life. With the skills gained in school, the people are able to effectively manage whatever small resources at their disposal which leads to an improved quality of life. It is unlike the uneducated people who do not have enough knowledge of how they would effectively manage their resources (Baum and Kathleen 16). According to research, the earnings difference between the high school progress and college progress has significantly improved in recent years.
Moreover, higher education also benefits the society in different ways. One is that higher education lowers the levels of unemployment and poverty among the people. When the society is filled with different people who are well learned and have the skills necessary to survive and prosper in the job market, then they are easily absorbed in the available positions in the job market. Also, with more people employed, and earning a good income, the society is bound to grow and develop in many different ways. One of the ways is that there will be increased revenues for the government through payment of taxes. The government can use the revenue earned from the taxes from the people to improve the standard of living of the people in the society. Additionally, the educated individuals also have the knowledge and skills necessary to create jobs that could offer opportunities to more people in the society (Baum and Kathleen 25). As a result, most of the people have jobs and are able to earn a decent living to meet their daily needs. This improves the living standards of the entire society and reduces the rates of crimes and poverty.
Education is also linked to better quality of life. It is evident that the different classes of people in the society today are directly linked to the level of education. As earlier seen, there is a major difference between the educated and the uneducated people in the society. The reason is that higher education comes with acquiring important information that people can apply even in everyday life experience. For example, the educated people are well educated about issues such as family planning, healthy living, exercise, good diets, and other important information that lead to healthier lives (Alvesson 7). This is unlike the uneducated group who do not have access to such information that would help them improve the quality of life. Sometimes, the uneducated people would have the knowledge but lack enough resources to help them lead a quality life. Therefore, it is evident that higher education positively effects to the standards of living.
However, an increasing number of people going to colleges and universities for advanced learning comes with the burden of high rates of skilled but unemployed people in the society. The job market and the business world has become saturated with highly skilled but unemployed people. Moreover, there are more graduates graduating from tertiary institutions every year. These graduates are coming into an environment where there are no more opportunities for them to get absorbed into. Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of unemployed graduates. These graduates eventually end up moving to the cities in search of any available jobs. While in the city most of them still cannot secure decent employment and are hired as laborers where they are poorly paid.
In most cases, the wages these graduates are not enough to provide them with the basic needs or even luxuries that are associated with high standards of living. They are only enough to afford then cheap shelters in congested environments and can hardly even afford basic needs. Such situations in most cases lead to frustration in the graduates who find it hard to cope with the life after school. As a result, most of them are at a risk of engaging in crimes, abuse of drugs, and other social problems as they try to cope with the difficulties in life. This affects their health, living status, and the community status in general. Additionally, new technology is taking the many positions that were previously occupied by people (Baum, Jennifer and Kathleen 15). Therefore, although higher education is positively linked to high living standards, there is still the other side of the coin where higher education leads to frustration due to lack of employment and good incomes leading to frustration.
Conversely, all hope is not lost and higher education still remains to be one of the best ways improve the standards of living in the people. Despite the scarcity of opportunity in the job market for the graduates, the education offered in these institutions is well advanced and it equips them with the knowledge and skills not just to get employed and earn an income but to also to become innovative i...
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