Economist Barry Bosworth at the Brookings Institution crunched the numbers and found that the richer you are, the longer you’ll live. And it’s a gap that is widening, particularly among women.
The good news is that men of all incomes are living longer. Yet the data shows that the life expectancy of the wealthy is growing much faster than the life expectancy of the poor.
Here’s the sort of detail this remarkable data set can show. You can look at a man born in 1940 and see that during the 1980s, the mid-point of his career, his income was in the top 10% for his age group. If that man lives to age 55 he can expect to live an additional 34.9 years, or to the age of 89.9. That’s six years longer than a man whose career followed the same arc, but who was born in 1920.
For men who were in the poorest 10%, they can expect to live another 24 years, only a year and a half longer than his 1920s counterpart.
“At the bottom of the distribution, life is not improving rapidly for women anymore,” said Mr. Bosworth. “Smoking stands out as a possibility. It’s much more common among women at lower income levels.”
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