Speed Reads


The life expectancy in a rich Virginia suburb is comparable to Sweden's. In a poor West Virginia county, it's comparable to Iraq's.

That's the startling finding from a report in today's New York Times on the correlation between income and life expectancy. As the Times' Annie Lowrey writes, the life expectancy for men in Fairfax County, Virginia, (median income: $107,000) is about 82 years. A few hundred miles away in McDowell County, West Virginia, (median income: under $30,000) the life expectancy for men is 64.

That finding may seem rather intuitive, but the extent of the gap between the haves and have nots is nonetheless shocking. And the Times report also notes that the life expectancy divide has only grown sharper in the past few decades at a time of rising income inequality in the nation as a whole. As we've written before, the wealthiest Americans weathered the economic recession far better than did the rest of the nation, further expanding the income gap.

Head over to the Times, which also has some illuminating visualizations on income and life expectancy, and give the entire story a read.