It’s official: rich people live longer, especially when the gap between rich and poor is large. A study conducted by the London School of Economics and the Vienna University of Economics and Business has determined that “greater income inequality before taxes and income transfers in a country results in greater inequality in the number of years people in that country live. In contrast, the greater the re-distribution of incomes via taxes and transfers, the greater the equality in life spans.” Researchers found that the United States “was the most unequal in longevity, with relatively high pre-tax income inequality and relatively low income re-distribution.” The lowest levels of lifespan inequality are found in Iceland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Generally, countries with higher levels of income inequality have increased rates of poverty, which leads to an increase in premature deaths among the poor. In addition, when there is a large gap between rich and poor, there is often a “spatial segregation of the rich and the poor. Poorer communities and neighbourhoods have lower levels of social cohesion, experience higher rates of crime, social disorder and violence and receive fewer and lower-quality public services, with potentially negative health consequences for those that live there.” Like we needed a study to prove that. Sure all you have to do is listen to Elvis.