More Money ... Less Health Problems? How Wealth Really Impacts Health

More Money ... Less Health Problems? How Wealth Really Impacts Health

Earning more money doesn’t just boost your financial health.

Turns out, it can also help ensure your body stays healthy, too.

According to new research from the Urban Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University, health issues—like disease and even premature death—tend to dramatically decline as you move up the economic ladder.

But while a link between poverty and poor health might already be obvious, the study revealed something more surprising: health actually improves with every increase in income. 

For instance, while the middle class is generally in better health than low-income Americans, they are also noticeably less healthy than the upper class.


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The report analyzed the prevalence of 12 different health problems by household income, using data from the Centers for Disease Control. For every condition—including heart disease, diabetes, chronic arthritis and stroke—the prevalence decreased consistently with each step of increased income.

Case in point: while the rate of stroke is 2.3% among middle-class families—and a steep 3.9% for those earning less than $35,000—it's just 1.6% for those in households raking in six-figure salaries.

What gives? Income and health are closely linked for a number of reasons, the Urban Institute report explained.

To start, families with heftier incomes can afford the resources that promote good health—such as nutritious foods, trips to the doctor and medicine. They also are more likely to live in environments with increased access to health education, health care providers and plenty of green space and fitness facilities.

On the other hand, low-income families are more likely to live in areas that lack health resources. And major factors like unemployment and poor education could also be contributing.

Bottom line: According to the report, each step up the economic ladder might not only be a step to a fatter bank account—but also to a healthier, longer life.

RELATED: 5 Ways Your Health Can Impact Your Financial Well-Being


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