Recent data1 highlighted the association between income and longevity in the United States, particularly the increasing differences during 2001 through 2014 in life expectancies for people in the top 5% range of household income compared with those in the bottom 5%. However, as Woolf and Purnell2 note in their Editorial, these results depend on removing potential effects of race on mortality, especially the consequences of segregation, discrimination, and unequal resource distribution. It is important to know that income and longevity are associated, but addressing how this association contributes to health disparities and using this information to formulate public policy is impossible without considering the role of race differences.
Zonderman AB, Mode NA, Ejiogu N, Evans MK. Race and Poverty Status as a Risk for Overall Mortality in Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged Adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1394-1395. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3649