Study shows the rich live longer than the poor

Here’s another way the rich are different to most of us – they live longer.

The more money you have, the healthier you are and the longer you live, according to a report from the Brookings Institute.

The researchers looked at life expectancy at age 50 by income levels comparing those born in 1920 with those born in 1940.

Here’s what a new study by the Brookings Institution found:  money happniess

On average, a rich man born in the U.S. in 1920 could expect to live about six years longer than a poor man born in the same year.

By 1940, this gap had more than doubled.

Among rich and poor men born in 1940, the difference in life expectancy was 12 years.

This same trend was also seen with women’s life expectancies.

The gap between rich and poor women widened from 3.7 years for women born in 1920 to 10.1 years for those born in 1940.

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Source: Brookings

This just confirms similar study last year from the Urban Institute which concluded that the more money you have, the healthier you are and the longer you live.

They also found that middle-class Americans are healthier than those living in or near poverty, but they are less healthy than the upper class.

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Why do the rich live longer? 

The researchers examined variables such as smoking, obesity, education, nutrition and exercise, but were unable to find a definitive cause for the growing disparity.

While access to better health care is an obvious reason, people with higher incomes also benefit from better living conditions and tend be more focused on the future, which probably also helps them make healthier choices.

The poor are also far more likely to be stressed, worried, sad, and angry than the rich, according to the Brookings Institute’s Carol Graham.

“In the United States”, she writes, “poverty is exacting a high cost.”

I guess it could be said that… poverty kills you.

Here’s few possible reasons…

  • Poor people work fewer hours and retire at a younger age than rich people. For many retirees this means a significant reduction in productivity and in their associations. According to rich-300x169Harvard Professor of Public Policy, Lisa Berkman, social isolation is a significant factor in reduced longevity.
  • Poor people exercise less leading top obesity
  • Rich people associate with upbeat people while poor people surround themselves with negative people, which keeps them in a negative mindset. This leads to long-term stress, which impairs their immune system and causes chronic disease. Negative people are unable to find solutions to problems because negativity narrows their focus, creativity and capacity for insight.

The Bottom Line:

Not only are the poor getting poorer but they’re also living shorter lives than the rich.

So while money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you a better chance at a considerably longer life.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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