Income Inequality and Health: A Multilevel Analysis Investigating Interactions with (Non)Metropolitan Status, Sex, Income and Race/Ethnicity

Suzanne C. Eichenlaub, University of Washington

Using year 2000 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the U.S. population census summary tape files, I conduct a multilevel analysis to assess the impact of county-level income inequality on self-rated health in the U.S. Additionally, I examine whether the effect of income inequality on health varies by selected characteristics of individuals, as suggested by prior research. I find no evidence of an independent effect of income inequality on health when appropriate control variables are included. And, while I find no significant variation in the effect of income inequality on health by gender, individual income or metropolitan status, I do find that the effect of inequality varies significantly by race/ethnicity. Specifically, I find that the racial/ethnic differentials in health, which are large under conditions of relative equality, converge as income inequality increases. At higher levels of income inequality, there are no statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in health.

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Presented in Poster Session 6