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Med Care. 1982 Sep;20(9):901-14.

Does income affect mortality? An analysis of the effects of different types of income on age/sex/race-specific mortality rates in the United States.


This article explores the question of whether or not higher incomes are associated with lower mortality rates. Some recent research on this issue has suggested that income either has no effect on or may even be positively correlated with mortality rates. By contrast, earlier studies consistently found a negative relationship--higher income (or economic status) was generally associated with lower mortality rates. This paper extends the prior research in two significant ways. First, the issue is analyzed separately for eight adult and four infant age/sex/race-specific population cohorts. Second, total family income is broken down into several components to investigate whether different types of income have differential effects on mortality rates. In addition, the problem of untangling the joint effects of education and income on mortality also is explored. The results tend to support the hypothesis that higher income is associated with lower mortality rates. However, the magnitude of the impact of income is small, although it is consistently larger for infants than for adults.

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