Income Inequality And Low Socioeconomic Status

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Epidemiologists and population health experts have researched and analyzed the issue of income inequality and low socioeconomic status and how it relates to one’s health conditions. Across the globe, income has a major impact on the quality of other determinants of health, such as housing, food security and other basic prerequisites for health (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). Socioeconomic status (SES) can impact an individual’s health through factors such as control over material resources, social and political power, prestige, knowledge and educational skills; access to care; and exposure levels to agents harmful to health (Viswanath and Bond, 2007). On average, the more advantaged an individual is, the better their health overall (Alder and Ostrove, 1999).

Using the social-ecological framework, common indicators of SES status, at the individual level, include education, income and wealth, and occupation. At the societal level, geographical areas and groups of people can be compared based on measures such as, the amount of people in a geographical area who have a college education or who are employed in ‘higher income’ occupations, compared to the percentage of people living in poverty and poorer living conditions (Viswanath and Bond, 2007). Low income and SES affects health through three main factors: poor nutrition and diet, increased consumption of tobacco use, and unsafe living and working conditions. All of these elements can have a direct or indirect influence on the
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