Rich people beat poor people in so many ways, including longevity. Though it is well-known that people with more money live longer than poor ones, a new report suggests that the gap is wider today than it was in the past.
Past studies have shown that poor and uneducated people die earlier and are more prone to diseases compared to rich people. The more money people have, the healthier they are and the longer they live, the report from Brookings Institute says.
The economists, who conducted the study, report that people belonging to the top 10 percent earners in society are living much longer than those in the bottom 10 percent. The gap, however, is increasing over time.
They looked at life expectancy at 50 years old by income levels comparing those born in 1920 with those born in 1940.
What They Found
The researchers report that a rich man born in the United States in 1920 is expected to live by about five years longer than a poor counterpart born in the same year. Comparing with those born in 1940, the gap more than doubled to 12 years.
In women, the trend was similar. A rich woman born in 1920 is expected to live 3.7 years more than her poor counterpart. In rich women born in 1940, the life expectancy increased to 10.1 years more than poor women born in the same year.
Why Is The Gap Widening?
The researchers analyzed variables including obesity, education, smoking, nutrition and exercise. However, they were not able to find a definite cause for the growing disparity.
"We don't know. More affluent Americans tend to engage more in systematic exercise," Gary Burtless, co-author of the study, said.
"They are less likely to be obese. Their smoking rates are lower. Those differences can help account for why there is a difference in how long people live," he said.
Though the access to better health care is one obvious reason, people who earn more money benefit from better living conditions. They also tend to be more focused on their future, leading to healthier options. Poor people, on the other hand, are also more predisposed to stress, sadness, and worry.
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