Research ties economic inequality to gap in life expectancy

Washington Post: March 10, 2013

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — This prosperous community is the picture of the good and ever longer life — just what policymakers have in mind when they say that raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare is a fair way to rein in the nation’s troublesome debt.

The county’s plentiful and well-tended golf courses teem with youthful-looking retirees. The same is true on the county’s 41 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, abundant tennis courts and extensive network of biking and hiking trails.

The healthy lifestyles pay off. Women here can expect to live to be nearly 83, four years longer than they did just two decades earlier, according to research at theUniversity of Washington. Male life expectancy is more than 78 years, six years longer than two decades ago.

But in neighboring Putnam County, life is neither as idyllic nor as long. Read more