An article was recently published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) describing the association between income and life expectancy in the United States between 2001 and 2014. The article highlights major differences in life expectancy by income group and that these differences increased from 2001 to 2014. The figure below, an adaptation of Figure 3 from the article, shows that in 2001 the difference in life expectancy among men between those in the lowest income group (mean income = $17,000 per year) versus those in the highest income group (median income = $256,000 per year) was 9 years and by 2014 this difference had increased to 10.6 years. Among women, the difference in life expectancy in 2001 between those in the lowest income group (mean income = $16,000 per year) versus those in the highest income group (median income = $243,000 per year) was 4.3 years and by 2014 this difference had increased to 6 years. From 2001 to 2014 the gap between those in the highest income group and the lowest income group widened by about the same amount for men (1.6 years) and women (1.7 years).
Change in race- and ethnicity-adjusted life expectancy from 2001 to 2014 among men and women by income group
Notes: The data points for this figure were extrapolated from Figure 3 of the Chetty et al article. The quartiles of median income were based on the median household earnings among working individuals. Only the top and bottom quartiles are shown to highlight the gap between these two extreme income groups.
Data Source: Figure 3 from Chetty et al. The Association between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001 to 2014. Published online by JAMA on April 10, 2016.