Money and Investment / #MoneyInvest

September 12, 2019,   3:06 PM

The Secret To Higher Life Expectancy Is Being Rich, Figures Reveal

Jamila Gandhi


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Image source: Flickr

Besides being in the top 1% of the world’s wealth bracket, the rich also enjoy the privilege of better health and longer lives, according to a study released on Monday.  

Conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), recent research findings reveal that individuals from households holding the top 20% of the wealth in 1992, were more likely to be alive than their counterparts in the other bottom quintiles. The report was commissioned by 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, provides an insight of income, wealth, life expectancy, and retirement security among older Americans.

In an analysis of Americans who were between the ages of 51 and 61 in the year 1992, 80% of the rich, and college-educated Americans were still alive. This is in comparison to only 50% of the poorest 20% making it alive to that age range. The poorest 20% were twice as likely to die over the 22-year period than the wealthiest 20%.  For three straight years, overall life expectancy in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world has been in decline," the senator, a 2020 presidential candidate, said in a statement. "If we do not urgently act to solve the economic distress of millions of Americans, a whole generation will be condemned to early death."

Additionally, the statistics point to the very real possibility that over half of the population won’t be able to afford care and housing by the end of the next decade. For quintiles with lower wealth, future income from social security and defined-benefit pensions provide a relatively significant portion of resources in retirement for those who expect such income.

These results by the GAO echo previous studies on the relationship between lifespan and wealth in the US. Representatives from Stanford, Harvard and McKinsey and Co. found that differences in life expectancy across income groups increased over time between 2001 and 2014 in America. Whereas a 2017 study indicated that the gap could vary by up to 20 years depending on the region in the country.

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