The association between income and health is long-standing. The poor have worse health than the near poor, the near poor fare worse than the middle class, and the middle class fare worse than the upper class. The lowest economic groups have a higher incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and respiratory disease and have a greater likelihood of death from illness or injury than other groups. This is consistent with the increased risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and mental illness from work environments that offer little autonomy or control and are concentrated in low-wage occupations.
New, striking research postulates that the more unequal a society, the more unhealthy is not only the poorer group but the general populace.