Lawrence Jacobs

Recent Articles

Health and Wealth

A look at Americans' health reveals the astonishing inequalities in our society. American girls are born with a life expectancy that ranks 19th in the world (in another survey they fall to 28th). Male babies rank 31st -- in a dead tie with Brunei. Among the 13 wealthiest countries, the United States ranks last or nearly so in almost every way we measure health: infant mortality, low birth weight, life expectancy at birth, life expectancy for infants. The average American boy lives three and a half fewer years than the average Japanese baby, despite higher rates of cigarette smoking in Japan. The American adolescent death rate is twice as high as, say, England's. These dismal American averages mask vast differences across our population. A male born in some sections of Washington, D.C., for example, has a life expectancy 40 years lower than a woman born in many wealthy neighborhoods. In short, great differences in wealth match up to -- indeed, they create -- terrible differences in...