Study: Income Inequality Trumped by Public Health

NATIONWIDE—Where you live may be worse for your health than not being able to pay a doctor, according to a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It looks at life expectancy across the country. North Carolina cities ranked about middle of the pack.

The study’s data shows some lower income areas show danger signs like smoking rates which are twice as high.

But Dr. Mark DeHaven at UNC Charlotte's College of Health says the study suggests people in some low-income communities live longer than others.

That, he says, usually comes down to public health investment.

“In a county like Mecklenburg where active steps are being taken now to try and improve the public health infrastructure, with trying to address income inequality, that the indication is, it's going to make a difference,” he said.

The study says communities dealing with income inequality can help citizens live longer by targeting smoking and other high-risk behaviors.