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The growing life-expectancy gap between rich and poor

The growing life-expectancy gap between rich and poor

Researchers have long known that the rich live longer than the poor. Evidence now suggests that the life expectancy gap is increasing, at least here the United States, which raises troubling questions about the fairness of current efforts to protect Social Security.

There's nothing particularly mysterious about the life expectancy gap. People in ill health, who are at risk of dying relatively young, face limits on the kind and amount of work they can do. By contrast, the rich can afford to live in better and safer neighborhoods, can eat more nutritious diets and can obtain access to first-rate healthcare. People who have higher incomes, moreover, tend to have more schooling, which...