Get Rich, Live Longer.

It’s intuitive that being rich gives you access to better food, more social connectivity, and higher-quality health care.

Brookings economist Barry Bosworth crunches the data on income and lifespans for the Wall Street Journal, and the numbers tell three clear stories.

1. Rich people live longer.

2. Richer people’s lifespans are growing at a faster rate.

3. The problem is worse for women than for men.

Here’s the money chart I found and it tells a really sad story. This chart shows that in the richest country in the world, the expected lifespan of middle- and lower-income women is actually declining. At every income level, more money means more life.

Annie Lowrey reported that the sorting of zip codes into rich and poor means you can have two counties divided by 300 miles and more than 20 years of expected life. The typical guy in McDowell County, West Virginia, makes less than $30,000 a year and doesn’t live to 65. Five hours north on the highway, a typical man living in Fairfax County, Virginia, makes more than $100,000 and lives more than 80 years.  I found these statistics crazy and alarming. It makes me afraid that I will not make enough money to live a long, healthy life and watch my grandchildren grow up. It makes me feel that if I do not find a successful career out of college, that I will not live as long a life as someone who does, and those are scary facts right there.It is crazy to think how much money is needed to live a happy and healthy life. Especially when the day comes that you have a family of your own to take care of and provide for, while also having to worry about and take care of your own health. I’m sure many other people feel similar to me after hearing these kind of statistics.

  • Kellie Behrle



3 thoughts on “Get Rich, Live Longer.

  1. I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and I can see your example right before my eyes. Driving just 30 minutes from my small town to the direction of Fairfax, Va is almost like witnessing a gradient of income. The closer I get to the city, the nicer the houses appear and the more businesses and shopping centers I see. It is sad to see statistics like the ones you have found to know that people who live in the houses that I pass have a life expectancy based on their wealth, especially when just 30 minutes away, many people are living above and beyond their means.

    -Courtney Snyder


  2. I definitely see this back home in Napa, California. If I drive 15 minutes outside of my hometown you see a lot of people struggling to make ends meet. Since it is so expensive to live there the struggle is only getting worse for many people.


  3. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, and so we all can see the barriers that exist from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some areas remind me of the street that was referred to in the documentary, where the differences could be noticed just by glancing from one side of the street to the other. Living in the US, it seems almost natural that barriers like these exist since we grew up with them, and witness the class struggle on a daily basis. What is difficult for me to understand is how the separation of classes is minimized in other countries where universal healthcare, and other social aides exist.

    Cullan McCarthy


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