The Longevity Gap

The Longevity Gap

While those in higher income brackets have seen dramatic increases in life expectancy in the past few decades, those on the lower end of the scale arent living longer, and some are even losing years. We explore the reasons behind the longevity gap.

As income inequality rises, researchers are noting a related trend. While those in higher income brackets have seen life expectancy increase significantly in a generation, those on the lower end of the economic spectrum have not. In some counties, life expectancy has actually dropped in certain demographics. A number of factors are involved, including higher rates of smoking, inadequate access to health care, and higher levels of stress. We explore how health care reform and policies to address income inequality might affect the longevity gap.

Guests

Annie Lowrey

Reporter, New York Times

David Kindig

Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine; Co-Chair of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Population Health Improvement.

Lisa Dubay

Senior fellow, Health Policy Center, Urban Institute

Related Links

A Look At Life Expectancy In Our Region

This chart shows how life expectancy has grown in Washington, D.C., Fairfax, Va., and nationally, between 1989 and 2009.

Male Life Expectancy Across the U.S., 2010. Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

Female Life Expectancy Across the U.S., 2010. Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.