37% of all passengers survived.
61% of 1st passengers survived.
42% of 2nd passengers survived.
24% of 3rd passengers survived.
It’s like that on the United States Ship of Fools. Among other things, those traveling first class were closer to the life boats – and it’s the same wherever the rich are.
It has been known for decades that the rich live longer than the poor. Seminal studies done in the UK 40 or 50 years demonstrate that class is a major determinant of life expectancy. Here, in the United States, we have paid less attention to this. A recent article in the New York Times comparing the life spans of the rich and the poor addresses this vital and morbid subject.
Medical care plays only a small role in determining longevity. So much for all that screening that we as a population are subjected to. Smoking plays a role, but there are many poorly defined contributory factors. Income, education, class, race, postal code are all important and it is sad how early the lot is cast for those who have less.
The Times article is an opportunity to ruminate about this subject. I hope that a few of our readers who are involved in this field will comment and parse it for us.
- A 25 year gap between the life expectancy of rich and poor Londoners is a further indictment of our unequal society. One of the greatest determinants of a person’s health is their income. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson. The Independent 15 January 2014
- Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing by Sabrina Tavernise. NY Times, February 2016