New government research has found “large and growing” disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.
While life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said, yet affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap.
“the growing inequalities in life expectancy” mirrored trends in infant mortality and in death from heart disease and certain cancers.The gaps have been increasing despite efforts by the federal government to reduce them.
Dr. Singh , a demographer at the Dept. of Health and Human Services , said last week that federal officials had found “widening socioeconomic inequalities in life expectancy” at birth and at every age level.
In 1980-82 people in the most affluent group could expect to live 2.8 years longer than people in the most deprived group (75.8 versus 73 years). By 1998-2000, the difference in life expectancy had increased to 4.5 years (79.2 versus 74.7 years), and it continues to grow .
In 2000 men in the most deprived counties had 10 years’ shorter life expectancy than women in the most affluent counties (71.5 years versus 81.3 years). The difference between poor black men and affluent white women was more than 14 years (66.9 years vs. 81.1 years).