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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
How are income and wealth linked to health and longevity? The greater one’s income, the lower one’s likelihood of disease and premature death. Americans at all income levels are less healthy than those with higher incomes. Middle-class Americans are healthier than those living in or near poverty, but they are less healthy than the upper class.
How does income and wealth influence health? How income affects health. We know that people with higher incomes are healthier. Various long term studies have established that this relationship is largely causal – higher income leads to better health. The level and distribution of income, and poverty, is a well known cause of health inequalities within populations
What is the effect of income on longevity? The study took individual-level data and found that life expectancy continues to increase as income goes up. It also showed that the difference in life expectancy between the lowest- and highest-income quartiles—the top and bottom 25 percent of income—varies across areas and is increasing over time.
How are income and health related? Higher income is related to better health conditions and lower health risks, while lower income means more exposure to health risk factors. People with lower relative income experience higher risks of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety .
Studies have shown a positive correlation between good health and higher income. That is people who earn more money tend to have less disease and better health, overall. Poor health and higher rates of disease are associated more with those in lower income groups.
Although the relationship between wealth and health has been less frequently studied, a growing body of evidence reveals that greater levels of wealth also predict better health outcomes.
An adequate income can help people to avoid stress and feel in control, to access experiences and material resources, to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours, and to feel supported by a financial safety net. Through these mechanisms, people are more able to access the opportunities needed for a healthy life.
First, higher income was associated with greater longevity throughout the income distribution. The gap in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of individuals was 14.6 years (95% CI, 14.4 to 14.8 years) for men and 10.1 years (95% CI, 9.9 to 10.3 years) for women.
The study took individual-level data and found that life expectancy continues to increase as income goes up. It also showed that the difference in life expectancy between the lowest- and highest-income quartiles—the top and bottom 25 percent of income—varies across areas and is increasing over time.
The current notion about income and health status is that the wealthier a person is, the longer they can expect to live because they will have easier access to appropriate healthcare.
Research shows that income and health are linked, with increased life expectancy among Americans who earn more money. While higher incomes and wealth are linked to better health within the U.S., their protective nature does not perform as well in a global context.
Poverty is a major cause of ill health and a barrier to accessing health care when needed. This relationship is financial: the poor cannot afford to purchase those things that are needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and health care.
Not just being poor, but living in areas blighted by poverty can mean a shorter life span and a stolen future for many people. Underperforming schools, few job opportunities, higher crime rates, poor nutrition and food access, lack of health care and housing all add up to shorter, unhealthier, impoverished lives.
Preston showed that the cross-sectional relationship between life expectancy and per-capita national income across countries can be accurately described by the so-called Preston curve, with rapid increases in life expectancy in countries with lower incomes and slower increases in countries with higher incomes.
The most obvious explanation behind the connection between life expectancy and income is the effect of food supply on mortality. Higher income also implies better access to housing, education, health services and other items which tend to lead to improved health, lower rates of mortality and higher life expectancy.
Money and resources can affect health in a number of ways. For a given income there is a range of healthy life expectancies owing to other influences on health, such as quality of housing, job quality, differences in income within each geographical area or differences in population composition.
Howe study of life expectancy in Canada finds men in the highest earning group can expect to live eight years longer than men who are the lowest earners. For women, the gap in longevity between the richest and the poorest is much less, just three years.
The 2018 data show that life expectancy in the U.S. is 2 years lower than the average for all high-income countries. In short, U.S. life expectancy has increased, though its rate of increase for the past half century is lower than life expectancy for other high-income countries.
Income inequality harms health by increasing the prevalence of poverty, generating chronic stress due to increased social comparisons, and eroding societal cohesion and destabilizing institutions that protect health.
Poverty can affect the health of people at all ages. In infancy, it is associated with a low birth weight, shorter life expectancy and a higher risk of death in the first year of life. Children living in poverty are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases and diet-related problems.
Income is perhaps the most important social determinant of health. Level of income shapes overall living conditions, affects psychological functioning and influences health-related behaviours such as quality of diet, extent of physical activity, smoking and excessive alcohol use.
We found people living in the 20% most socio-economically disadvantaged areas are twice as likely to die prematurely than those in the highest 20%. More worryingly, this gap in death rates between the most and least well-off sectors of the Australian population grew wider between 2011 and 2016.
Life expectancy varies worldwide and involves many factors such as diet, gender, and environment. As medical care has improved over the years, life expectancy has increased worldwide. Introduction to medical care such as vaccines has significantly improved the lives of millions of people worldwide.
Besides improving socioeconomic position, a higher income allows for greater access to goods and services that provide health benefits, such as better food and housing, additional health care options, and greater choice in healthy pursuits.
Research has shown that greater levels of inequality in income among nations, states, or cities in the United States, or other geographically defined populations, are associated with higher mortality.