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The Link Between Lifespan and Income - 4/21/16

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association put a new spin on raging discussions regarding income and wealth inequality in the U.S – the research finds that adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda. 

What’s more, their lifespans are shrinking.  The study, led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty, offers many insights, including that the gap in life spans between the rich and poor widened from 2001 to 2014.  As reported in the New York Times, the top 1 percent in income among American men live 15 years longer than the poorest 1%. 

Among women, the gap is ten years.  Wealthy Americans have gained three years of longevity during this century alone.  The rich live longer virtually without regard to where they live.  The poor have gained little longevity and where they live really matters. 

In cities like Tulsa and Detroit, life expectancy among low income residents is particularly short.  In addition to having access to better quality healthcare, the rich may also benefit from their lifestyles – they tend to exercise more, smoke less, experience less stress and are less likely to be obese.  

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.