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

In a groundbreaking analysis of US income and mortality data since 2001, researchers report that:

  • Life expectancy at age 40 increases continuously with income percentile.
  • The wealthiest 1% have a life expectancy at age 40 that’s 10-15 years greater than the poorest 1%.
  • The rise in life expectancy associated with income becomes much smaller above a household income of about $200,000.
  • Expected age at death for 40-year-olds increased for people in the top income quartile at a rate about 2.5 times that for people in the bottom income quartile.
  • Life expectancy at age 40 differs by location, favoring New York and California for people in the bottom income quartile and Utah and Maine for those in the top income quartile.
  • Most of the difference in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest seems attributable to health behaviors.

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