Table of contents:
Income volatility of youth leads to premature death, heart attacks, strokes
A sudden, unpredictable decline in personal income at a young age is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death from any cause.
Photo: Google Images /
A sudden, unpredictable drop in personal income at a young age is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death from any cause, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
The authors write that the recent rise in wealth inequality in the United States is indicative of a significant portion of the population facing poverty and economic hardship. While most people are faced with minor changes in the level of income, now it is the variability (volatility) reached a record high since 1980.
Scientists analyzed data from the ongoing Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which involved 3,937 people from four different US cities - Birmingham, Minneapolis, Chicago and Oakland. At the start of the study, the participants were 23-35 years old.
The researchers collected data on changes in income levels by conducting five assessments from 1990 to 2005. Between 2005 and 2015, scientists used medical records and death certificates to estimate the prevalence of heart attacks, strokes and all-cause deaths among study participants.
According to the results, the largest fluctuations in personal income are associated with almost double the risk of death and more than double the risk of cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, or death over the next 10 years). The scientists compared these indicators with the control group, in which the fluctuations in the level of personal income were insignificant. It also appeared that women and African Americans experienced high income volatility and declines more often than white men.
“Income volatility is a growing threat to public health, especially when federal programs to help absorb unpredictable income changes are constantly changing and tend to decline,” said study lead author Tali Elfassy, Ph.D., assistant professor. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida.
The study was observational, so there was no goal of determining a causal relationship between income volatility and health. However, she noted, "Our results indicate that significant negative changes in income can be detrimental to heart health and can contribute to premature death."