Income Creates Health Disparities

October 18, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Financial Services | Household Income | Pharma & Healthcare

Those making less than $24,000 per year suffer from much lower emotional and physical health, have poorer health habits, and have significantly less access to medical care than higher-income Americans, according to new data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Well-Being Index Score Steadily Rises with Income
Gallup finds a Well-Being Index composite score of 57.2 among those making less than $24,000 per year, which compares negatively with the 67.7 score among the middle class and the 74.3 score among high-income Americans. The scores reflect 55 individual items that collectively measure Americans’ physical, emotional, and fiscal well-being.


Chronic Health Problems More Prevalent among Lower-income Americans
Low-income Americans are more likely than their high-income counterparts to say they have been diagnosed with each of the chronic conditions Gallup asks about. The differences are largest for depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes, with gaps of 18.7, 12.8, and 9.4 percentage points, respectively.


Gallup analysis indicates the high level of obesity among low-income Americans; 32% are obese compared to about 22% of those with high incomes , is likely a contributing factor in these differences.

In addition, tracking non-chronic health conditions, reports of colds and flu are also more common among low-income Americans, and headaches are more than twice as likely among the low-income group as among high-income Americans.

Access to Medical Care Substantially Less for Lower-income Americans
One-third of low-income Americans are uninsured, and slightly more than that say there have been times in the past 12 months when they didn’t have enough money for healthcare. About seven in 10 have a personal doctor, and less than half (44%) say they have visited a dentist in the past 12 months.


By comparison, more than eight in 10 high-income Americans have a personal doctor and have visited a dentist, and only about 13% are uninsured.

Emotional Health also Affected by Income
Low-income Americans are less likely to experience enjoyment and happiness compared with those in the middle-class and high-income groups and are much more likely to experience worry, sadness, stress, and anger. The gap between the low- and high-income groups ranges from six points on stress to 18.3 points on sadness.


Gallup asks Americans if they experienced each of these feelings during “a lot of the day yesterday” to gauge their daily emotional experiences.

Business Owners Healthiest
Business owners score high in health and job satisfaction indices, according to other recent data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Business owners once again lead all major occupational groups in overall wellbeing in 2010 with a Well-Being Index score of 73.3, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, followed closely by professionals (72.9) and managers/executives (72).

Although blue collar farming/forestry professionals rank fourth in overall wellbeing with an index score of 69.2, white collar professions tend to score higher on the Well-Being Index. Two other white collar professions, sales and clerical, rank fifth and sixth, and are then followed by five blue collar professions. Manufacturing (64.4) and transportation (63.8) workers have the lowest wellbeing scores.


Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This