Rich? You'll Probably Live Longer, Too
Studies show link between life expectancy, income gap
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2013 2:40 PM CDT
In this Oct. 26, 2009 file photo, primary care physician Dr. Don Klitgaard greets Muriel Bacon as her husband weighs in with a nurse, at the Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

(Newser) – Research shows a disturbing trend in the US: As life expectancy goes up, the life expectancy gap between rich and poor is widening. While US life expectancy hit 78.5 years in 2009, most gains went to those whose income is the highest. To illustrate the trend, the Washington Post takes a look at two counties in Florida: St. Johns, where golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails abound and women can expect to live to almost 83, men to more than 78; and neighboring Putnam, where incomes and housing values are much lower and the life expectancy is just 78 for women, 71 for men.

"It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out," says the head of a healthcare nonprofit in Florida. "You just have to look at the socioeconomic and demographic differences—unemployment, education levels, income between the two counties—to understand what is going on. This is fueled by poor economics and a lack of access to health insurance and health coverage." And it has serious policy repercussions, as some lawmakers argue to increase the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare in an effort to lower US debt. Such a move would reduce benefits for those who make less, and who already tend to die younger. Or, as one expert puts it, "low-income populations would be subsidizing the lives of higher-income people."

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
roddy6667
Mar 12, 2013 12:31 AM CDT
Rich people don't spend their money on cigarettes, lottery tickets, and booze and White Trash junk food.
finkster
Mar 11, 2013 5:55 PM CDT
"takes a look at two counties in Florida: St. Johns, where golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails abound" The study is missing the point in my humble opinion Golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails all give the opportunity to exercise And that can happen simply by riding a bicycle to work like I do and also eating right like cooking your own healthy food As someone pointed out here on Newser with the skit of Mad T.V. Eat less.....Move more....:-)
cmueller56
Mar 11, 2013 5:18 PM CDT
One thing they did not factor in is food. Rich people can afford to buy high quality organic foods, while lower income people can only afford the cheaper, GMO grown food, or other foods with high toxin levels.