America's richest men live 15 years longer than poor men

Panama Papers: Rich allegedly hid billions offshore
Panama Papers: Rich allegedly hid billions offshore

The richest Americans live far longer than their poorest counterparts, a new study shows.

Men in the Top 1% can expect to live until age 87.3, nearly 15 years longer than those in the Bottom 1%, according to research by Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty and seven co-authors.

America's wealthiest men live longer than their counterparts in any other country, while the poorest have life expectancies comparable to men in Sudan and Pakistan.

The richest women, meanwhile, have life expectancies just shy of 89 years, a full decade longer than the poorest women.

richer live longer

Among the poor, women outlive men by six years. But rich women live only 1.5 years longer than rich men.

The researchers stress that fatter incomes are not the cause of longer lifespans, cautioning that simply giving people money won't increase their longevity. Instead, longer lives may be correlated with factors such as differences in education and the health and lifestyle behaviors between the rich and poor.

Related: Panama Papers: Rich and powerful respond to claims they hid billions offshore

The gap between rich and poor has widened in recent years. Those in the Top 5% gained about three years of life between 2001 and 2014, but those at the Bottom 5% did not see their lifespans increase.

Just how long the poor live depends greatly on where they reside. They enjoy the longest life expectancies in places with high rates of healthy behaviors, such as high levels of exercise and low prevalence of smoking and obesity. It is not significantly correlated with quality or quantity of medical care, such as the share of uninsured, Medicare spending or quality of primary care. Also, it was not correlated with income inequality, residential segregation or unemployment rates.

Low-income Americans tend to live the longest -- and have the healthiest behaviors -- in affluent cities with highly educated residents and generous government benefits, such as New York and San Francisco.

Where do the poor have the shortest life expectancies? For men, it's Gary, Indiana, at 74.2 years. For women, it's Las Vegas, at 80 years.

Generally, their life expectancies are the shortest in the center of the country, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The poor live the longest in California, New York and Vermont.

Rich men, on the other hand, can expect to live to 86.8 in Portland, Maine, the nation's longest life expectancy. For wealthy women, Spokane, Washington, is the place to be, where their life expectancy is 89.2 years.

The poor's life expectancy did change in some locales. In Birmingham, Alabama, low-income residents gained 3.7 years during the 2000s. But in Tampa, Florida, the poor can expect to live 2.2 fewer years.

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