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Economy

Geography and Life Expectancy Are Linked for Low-Income Americans

Economist Raj Chetty’s comprehensive new study finds that the rich live long everywhere. Not so for the poor.
Longevity for the poorest depends on place.
Longevity for the poorest depends on place. Raj Chetty et al/The Health Inequality Project

Place matters when it comes to how much we earn. And how much we earn is linked to how long we’re likely to live. It is clear that place and longevity are also related—at least for the nation’s poor.

That’s according to a comprehensive new study by Stanford University economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues, published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In it, the researchers find that, yes, the richest Americans generally tend to live much, much longer compared to the poorest ones; but their longevity doesn’t depend on geography. How long poor Americans tend to live, however, varies drastically based on where they live.