12 Sep 2022


Money and Mortality: The Cost of Dying in America

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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Life expectancy refers to an estimate of the mortality rates .over the years; the expectancy has decreased with people dying at an average of fifty years. We have various causes of death for example diseases, accidents or attacks from terrorists. However, there has been a long public debate as to whether having money determines the longevity of a person .research has long established that individuals who earn lower incomes live relatively shorter lives as compared to their high-income counterparts. To add on this, findings further state that the longevity rate between the rich and poor in the United States has increased in recent years. Therefore, the essay shall seek to analyze the comparisons by various institutes on the issue of money having an effect on the lifespan of the rich and the poor people. 

Historically, there has been the unequal distribution of money resulting in a class of wealthy, middle class and poor people. This has been discovered through federal taxation where the data has been used to ascertain personal wealth for many years ( Marmot, 2002). The method assumes that people who pay the highest taxes from their income have a better income as compared to those with lower tax. 

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In America, for instance, there is an identifiable gap between the different classes of people. We can attribute this to the various factors such as their massive houses, the lifestyle and their general display of good health. Such a scenario further increases the gap and the differences between the high and low-income people. 

First, we can agree that the rich people have access to better housing as compared to the poor. For example, they have big spacious houses with gardens and social amenities such as playing grounds and swimming pools (Lee, et.al, 2015). Such an environment is safe alongside the fact that they have adequate security. Contrary, low-income earners live in inadequate housing conditions with lack or provision of social amenities. The places are usually congested, and we have high crime rates. This has caused many deaths as a result of shootings among the people or between the police. 

Furthermore, such places are prone to disease outbreaks for example cholera, yellow fever, chicken pox or tuberculosis. Hence, during such circumstances, more people especially children get infected and due to improper medical care, most end up dying young. So, this is among the leading causes of the high gap between poor and rich death cases. 

Secondly, health is a primary cause of mortality .however, mortality rates caused by diseases vary between the high and low-income citizens in the US. For example, we have conditions which affect the economically disadvantaged as opposed to the wealthy. Typhoid, malnutrition, pneumonia and other diseases are termed as poor people diseases. This can be credited to the different living styles. The rich have access to clean water, good sanitation, adequate housing, better nutrition and general warmth. Hence, the probability of them falling ill is zero. 

On the other hand, the poor eat to survive rather than promoting healthy lifestyles .therefore, research confirms that low-income earners do not follow a proper diet for their meals. Hats why most of them are malnourished and have low immunity to diseases. We can relate such problems to the high living standards due to the economy. As the cost of living rises, we have cases of too many bills although the salary remains constant for the average American worker who struggles to make ends meet. 

Consequently, access to medical facilities is a factor influencing the death rates. The US has public and private hospitals. The rich people have access to the private clinics which offer the best medical services .for example, and they have doctors with the best qualifications. Hence, despite the large amounts of money they pay, they are guaranteed of good care. On the same note, such people can hire private doctors who are always at their disposal. This is the case with many rich American families. 

Though, the same scenario cannot be said for the public hospitals .these are characterized by an incompetent and unwilling staff. Most of them are underpaid hence do not have any motivation thus affecting the patients who depend on them. For example, we have doctors who have not had much experience. Still they have not specialized in a particular medical field, therefore, cannot help patients with specific illnesses .this causes misdiagnosis among the patients thus leading to early and more deaths. 

Research on chronicle diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart problems finds that its effect on the poor is more adverse than on the wealthy (National Center for Health Statistics US. 2014). However, we can approve that both people are likely to get the diseases .In the case of cancer, the research found that the two classes of people are suffering from different kinds .In most cases, cancer affecting the low class is always more deadly. 

Poor people suffer from high rates of liver, oral, cervical, lung and colorectal cancer, whereas the wealthier ones are affected by higher cases of breast, prostate, skin and thyroid cancer. Therefore, statistics have estimated the 1o7% out of 100,000 poor people die from these diseases as compared to the wealthy ones who range at 68.9%. 

We can presume that the diseases affecting poverty stricken individuals have higher mortality and lower chances of prevention while those affecting the advantaged class have lower mortality and a high prevalence rate. This is possible among the rich since they have enough money to go for regular checkups and once diagnosed, they have the resources which enable them to attend chemotherapy. This cannot be assumed for the poor people as they do not have enough resources, amidst juggling with their daily expenses to visit hospitals regularly for checkups, let alone raising the money for treatment. National Center for Health Statistics US. 2014) 

Further on diseases, the wealthier the family, the easier it becomes to treat and provide support. People suffering from high blood pressure need constant shots of insulin which is rather expensive. Also, the physical challenged and those suffering from asthma need constant care which is possible with money. So, that’s why we experience a high number of suicides among the poor as they prefer to die rather than burden their already struggling families. 

Maternal health is also a demographic in mortality rates. Expectant mothers have the right to medical care for them and their unborn babies. Sadly, most health institutions have resorted to carrying out businesses at the expenses of providing care .most women in the US do not visit gynecologists since it’s an expensive venture. A few of the privileged can hire the services of such professions. 

Therefore during birth, we have high infant mortality rates among the deprived .most women also die because of complications during birth which is associated with the lack of qualified personnel to help in such situations (Yang, et.al, 2015) The girls from low-income families are likely to get pregnant at an early age because most of them do not finish school and engage degrading facilities such as prostitution. The aftermath of this is unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea or HIV/Aids. Lack of money prompts the young women to attempt unsafe abortions which cause deaths. Those affected with the diseases do not have the means of taking care of themselves hence causing early death. 

Education and ignorance also determine the mortality rates. Most of the rich people have access to the best education, get good jobs and ensure the same for their children. On the other hand, most underprivileged people do not go to college, get poor jobs and have nothing to offer to their children. Learning reduces ignorance. Hence, the learned people develop behaviors that may not be harmful in their lives. 

For example, people have common knowledge that smoking, drinking or taking drugs is detrimental to their health hence they restrain from such habits. On the contrary, due to ignorance and frustrations, the poor individuals resort to drinking, taking drugs and smoking which affects their health .most of them end up being addicts. (Roberts, 2014). Such behaviors lead to homelessness and crime. For those lucky enough, they can be taken to rehabilitation centers although such services need money. However, most end up falling sick or engaging in criminal activity.as we all know, these criminals are killed by the police .so, we have a country that has lost its youth either to drugs or bullets. Nonetheless, rich kids end up becoming successful and follow the footsteps of their parents in expanding their empires hence more money. This is the trend in many American families. 

Retirement is also a determinant in longevity. Most low-income citizens have low pension income. Therefore, with the high cost of living one has to fend for themselves with little the money. The situation becomes aggravated since the people have to stress on a source of income with no job. Hence, most underprivileged people suffer from stroke, high blood pressure or frequent heart attacks. Moreover, such families are disintegrated. Hence, the retirement leaves one lonely. Thus, sickness accompanied with health issues and stress cause people to die much earlier .on the other hand, people with high-income retire with huge pensions ( Amato,et.al,2015) 

This gives them room to start small businesses which keep them occupied and content. Nevertheless, such people spend their retirement time going for vacation and adventures. With such a living style, no one can complain of loneliness. Furthermore, wealthy families are more intact. Hence, they can ensure good medical care for the older people and ensure that all their needs are well taken care of. This is the reason why we have rich people dying at the age of 90-110, whereas the poor people die at a tender age of 55-65. 

Lastly, government policies also influence mortality. The US has developed high insurance premiums which determine the way people are treated. For examples, insurance covers have different rates which mostly favor the rich as the unfortunate are unable to pay the high amounts monthly. The result is a discriminatory health system which does not help all the people ( Brown, 2015). Thereby, people depend on chemist medicine, which we all know is harmful without proper diagnosis. Since such medications are not recommended by the physician, they cause one to treat the wrong medicine which has either short term or long term effects eventually leading to death. 


The notion that money ensures long life is true to some extent. Enough of it guarantees that one has education and general knowledge which enables them to engage in a culture of taking care of themselves. Low-income earners suffer from ignorance, diseases such as cancer, malnutrition, and stress. Further, they have poor living conditions that make them prone to all types of diseases. On the other hand, the rich people enjoy good housing and other essential amenities. Moreover, they eat a balanced diet which makes them healthy and immune to opportunistic diseases. Whereas the wealthy individuals have resources that make them access better medical services and early detection of illness, the poor people have limited resources which only allow them to visit health organizations when they are severely ill or when their diseases have reached advanced stages. The diseases of the rich people treatable and preventable whereas the others have diseases which can neither be prevented nor treated due to late detection. This is the cause of the gap in mortality between the wealthy and the have-nots. So, the leadership should introduce measures which ensure that the difference between the two levels is closed to offer all people a maximum chance for their lifespan. 


Amato, P., Booth, A., McHale, S. M., & Hook, J. V. (2015). Families in an Era of Increasing Inequality. In National Symposium on Family Issues (Vol. 5). 

Brown, G. C. (2015). Living too long. EMBO reports , 16 (2), 137-141. 

Harding, C., Pompei, F., Burmistrov, D., Welch, H. G., Abebe, R., & Wilson, R. (2015). Breast cancer screening, incidence, and mortality across US counties. JAMA internal medicine , 175 (9), 1483-1489. 

Lee, I. M., Shiroma, E. J., Lobelo, F., Puska, P., Blair, S. N., Katzmarzyk, P. T., & Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group. (2012). Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The lancet , 380 (9838), 219-229. 

Marmot, M. (2002). The influence of income on health: views of an epidemiologist. Health affairs , 21 (2), 31-46. 

National Center for Health Statistics (US. (2014). Health Risk Factors. 

National Center for Health Statistics (US. (2014). Mortality. 

Roberts, S. (2014). Gap Between Manhattan’s Rich and Poor Is Greatest in US, Census Finds. The New York Times

Yang, T. C., Noah, A. J., & Shoff, C. (2015). Exploring geographic variation in US mortality rates using a spatial Durbin approach. Population, space and place , 21 (1), 18-37. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Money and Mortality: The Cost of Dying in America.


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