Sometimes it seems like there is research for the sake of research.
A new infographic from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that stable jobs equal healthier lives. Since 1977, life expectancy of U.S. males retiring at 65 has increased by six years for people in the top half of the income distribution but only 1.3 years for those in the bottom half.
Did we really need an infographic to tell us that richer people, who have sustained access to healthcare and presumably lower stress about their day-to-day existence, live longer? Did we really need an infographic telling us that unemployed people are more likely to suffer from poor health?
A more interesting question might be if we measured the life expectancy of people in a first-world nation with universal healthcare and see whether having stable jobs had any impact on life expectancy for people at different income levels.
Then perhaps we might get a clearer answer of whether income has any impact on how long people live or whether it’s access to healthcare and better medical technology that is keeping people alive longer.
The answer might still be that people with higher incomes live longer because they can afford the new, cutting-edge technology that Joe Blow with government insurance cannot. But it would be less of a matter of employment and health insurance gained through it and more a matter of more advanced medical technology and better care.