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The richest 1% of Americans live 14.6 years longer, on average, than those with the lowest 1% of incomes and that gap is growing. While this disparity is well-known, the reasons are not well-understood. The Health Inequality Project is working to change that. Publishing their results in JAMA, researchers from across academia joined forces to map income disparities in life expectancy finding wide variation across the US.  Rich Americans’ life expectancy is growing regardless of where they live, but gains and losses for poor Americans vary considerably by geography. Some large cities are making good progress extending the lives of the poor. New York City leads the nation with the highest life expectancy for low-income 40 year-olds. However in other regions, poor residents have lifespans closer to very poor countries and are losing ground. Connecticut is in the middle of the pack. Improvements correlate with reducing health risks such as smoking and obesity, and with local circumstances such as public health programs and education. The authors argue that health equity efforts need to happen at the local level as well as nationally.
Bottom income quartile life expectancy, CT counties
County
Life expectancy at age 40
All
Men
Women
22
Fairfield
80.9
78.7
83.2
50
Hartford
79.8
77.0
82.5
52
New Haven
79.6
77.0
82.3