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Study: Richest 1 Percent Lives About 15 Years Longer Than Poorest 1 Percent

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The richest Americans are healthier than the poorest, and while the rich get richer, the poor live less longer - a gap that is growing ever wider.

In a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is a close association between income and life expectancy. The results of the study that analyzed data from 2001 to 2014 yielded four results:

1.    Richer Americans lived longer than the poorer ones throughout all income levels.

2.    Life expectancy differed over time with men and women between the top 5 percent earners and their bottom 5 percent counterparts.

3.    Low-income individuals lived shorter lives but life expectancy substantially differed across local areas.

4.    Life expectancy rates in the low-income bracket were correlated with geographic factors and health behaviors.

"There are vast gaps in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest Americans. Men in the top 1 percent distribution level live about 15 years longer than men in the bottom 1 percent on the income distribution in the United States," says Raj Chetty, a co-author of the study.

However, In an interview with NPR, Chetty disclosed that life expectancy is relatively the same between the rich and the poor in some places. He pointed out that Americans in the bottom income bracket live the same lengths of life as their counterparts in Pakistan and Sudan.

In another research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it was concluded that the wealthiest Americans live longer than the wealthiest Costa Ricans, but the lowest fourth of the Costa Rican income spectrum live longer than their counterparts in the U.S.

Some Aspects That Remain Unclear

While longer life expectancy is correlated with higher incomes, several aspects of the longevity-income equation remain unclear. The study was able to establish that life expectancy differs from place to place and culture to culture in local areas, but some questions continue to persist.

Is there an income threshold that no longer supports increased life expectancy or harms health? How do socioeconomic gaps in life expectancy change over time? To what extent do differences in life expectancy vary at the local area level? Do inequality, economic and social stress, and health care discrepancies play a role in the longevity gap?

If these aspects are debatable, is it right to say then that money is not the only consideration whether an individual will live longer or not? Do share with us your insights.

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