Jan 22, 2020

Social mobility may explain life expectancy gap between rich and poor

A pharmacy technician grabs a bottle of drugs off a shelf in 2018. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Social mobility — the ability to move up the income ladder — can help explain the gap between the life expectancies of the rich and the poor, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

What they found: Counties with higher social mobility tend to have smaller life expectancy gaps between the rich and poor, and the poorest people in those counties live longer.

Between the lines: Drug, alcohol and suicide-related deaths — which have led to declining U.S. life expectancy — are labeled as "deaths of despair" and are often linked to decreasing socioeconomic prospects.

  • "A growing body of literature suggests that living in areas with low social mobility may harm individuals’ health by reducing their beliefs about future well-being, consequently increasing stress or diminishing the motivation to engage in healthy behaviors," the authors write.

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The American Dream — in crisis

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The American Dream’s promise of a better life if you work hard enough is fracturing.

The big picture: Socioeconomic mobility in the U.S. is at its most sluggish in history. Not only are fewer Americans living better than their parents, but there’s also a growing number of people doing worse than their parents.

Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

U.S. life expectancy rises slightly

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

On average, an infant born in 2018 year is expected to live about 78 years and eight months, the CDC says in a report out Thursday.

The big picture: That's up one month from the year before — the first time in four years that U.S. life expectancy has risen, AP reports.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

Opioid death rate in the U.S. decreased in 2018

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Opioid deaths in the U.S. decreased in 2018 after years of steady increases, while the U.S. life expectancy ticked up for the first time in four years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Between the lines: The effort to combat the opioid epidemic appears to be working, although the problem is far from solved.

Go deeperArrowJan 31, 2020 - Health