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Life expectancy gap widening between US rich and poor: Study

12 April 2016 9:24


The gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor Americans has grown wider since the start of the century, a new research shows.

The wealthiest men have outlived the poorest men by nearly one and a half decade, according to the study published on Monday, AAP reported.

The average lifespans of men and women in the United States in the top 5 percent income group went up by over two years between 2001 and 2014, researchers found.

But at the bottom 5 percent income bracket, life expectancy almost stagnated, the report discovered.

“Between 2001 and 2014,” the researchers wrote, “life expectancy increased by 2.3 years for men and 2.9 years for women in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, but increased by only 0.3 years for men and 0.04 years for women in the bottom 5 percent.”

Meanwhile, in the top 1 percent, American men and women outlived the bottom 1 percent by about 14 and 10 years respectively.

The researchers said they hoped their study would help the government to make a better public health policy and narrow the life expectancy gap between the rich and poor,

“The magnitude of socioeconomic gaps in life expectancy, how these gaps are changing over time, and their determinants remain debated,” they wrote.

The researchers identified 10 states in the United States where low-income people have the shortest life expectancies, including an eight-state “geographic belt from Michigan to Kansas” in the center of the country.

Low-income Americans residing in Nevada, Indiana and Oklahoma, have life expectancy which is below 80 years, while California, New York and Vermont offer the longest low-income life expectancy at 80.6 years.

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