April 30, 2016

Income and longevity, almost all you need to know

The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014 

The estimates of impact of income on longevity are now available for US. And the results are clear. The summary of the article in 4 statements:
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 14.6years (95% CI, 14.4to 14.8years) for men and 10.1 years (95% CI,9.9 to 10.3 years) for women.
Second, inequality in life expectancy increased over time. Between 2001 and 2014, life expectancy increased by 2.34 years for men and 2.91 years for women in the top 5%of the income distribution, but by only 0.32 years for men and 0.04 years for women in the bottom 5%(P < .001 for the differences for both sexes).
Third, life expectancy for low-income individuals varied substantially across local areas. In the bottom income quartile, life expectancy differed by approximately 4.5 years between areas with the highest and lowest longevity.Changes in life expectancy between 2001 and 2014 ranged from gains of more than 4 years to losses of more than 2 years across areas.
Fourth, geographic differences in life expectancy for individuals in the lowest income quartile were significantly correlated with health behaviors such as smoking(r = −0.69,P < .001),but were not significantly correlated with access to medical care, physical environmental factors, income inequality, or labor market conditions. Life expectancy for low-income individuals was positively correlated with the local area fraction of immigrants (r = 0.72, P < .001), fraction of college graduates (r = 0.42, P < .001), and government expenditures (r = 0.57, P < .001). 
Differences are huge. Confronting the issue from a policy perspective is not that easy. Individual health behaviors are the key to understand what's going on.

PS. Inequality on income or wealth?. This could be the next article...

Josep Segú
Encants Nous, oli sobre tela, 80 × 220 cm