Richest Live Up to 15 Years Longer Than Poorest

      November 11, 2015 14:05

      The life expectancy of people in the top income bracket is an epic 15 years longer than among the poorest.

      The life expectancy of people in the upper 20 percentile in terms of income from Seoul's affluent Seocho District is 86.2 years, while people in the lowest percentile in a remote village in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province expect to live 71 years.

      Khang Young-ho at Seoul National University College of Medicine studied the relationship between life expectancy and income and on Tuesday presented his findings at the National Health Insurance Service.

      Khang used the data on national health insurance fees paid across the country from 2009 to 2014 to classify income levels into five bands and analyzed the death registers of 1.46 million people.

      The discrepancy is largely because people with higher income visit doctors more frequently and take care of health better. Another factor is a lower suicide rate among the rich.

      The national average life expectancy is 81.4 years, but in the highest income group it is 83.7 and in the lowest 77.6.

      The gap between men in these two groups was 7.5 years, and between women four, probably because poorer men are more likely to have unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking.

      Rural regions also have bigger gap than cities in life expectancy between the richest and poorest. Gangwon Province had the biggest gap with 8.1 years, followed by 7.9 years in South Jeolla Province, 7.8 years in Jeju Province, and 7.6 years in North Jeolla Province. Ulsan and Seoul had smaller gaps with four and 5.2 years.

      In Seoul, the affluent districts of Seocho, Gangdong and Gangnam had smaller gaps with 3.3, 3.6 and 3.8 years.

      Khang said, "The gaps show that health inequality is common in the country. Local governments should promote health and improve medical facilities."

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