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Low wages always give rise to the risk of early death

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A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that consistently low income is associated with a higher risk of death and an increased mortality rate.

Katrina L. Kezios, Ph.D., of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, and her colleagues have been studying the relationship between low income, low wages, and mortality.

The analysis included 4,002 U.S. participants (aged 50 and over) in the Health and Retirement Study (1992 to 2018) who reported their hourly earnings at three time points over a 12-year mean age period. .

A consistent history of low wages in middle age has been associated with significantly higher and earlier deaths, especially for workers whose low wages were experienced in the context of job instability.

The researchers found that those who never received low wages had 199 deaths per 10,000 person-years, compared with 208 deaths per 10,000 person-years for intermittent low wages and 275 deaths per 10,000 person-years for constant low wages.

When key sociodemographic variables were taken into account, stable low-wage income was associated with a higher risk of death and an increased mortality rate. However, these associations were weakened by additional adjustments in economic variables and health outcomes.

For workers with persistent exposure to lower wages and job insecurity, there was a significant increase in mortality and a higher risk of mortality.

“If the relationship is causal, our results suggest that social and economic policies that improve the financial situation of low-wage workers (such as minimum wage laws) can improve outcomes and reduce mortality,” the researchers write.

Source: Medical Express

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