Income inequality and public health issues around the world

Role of income inequality in society

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Introduction To Income Equality

Many developed country have faced a sharp rise in income inequality during the past three decades and which increases the health problems day by day. Economic inequality can be defined as distribution of income among individual, group of individuals and whole population among countries (Fornaciari and Callens, 2012). This inequality can occur due to instability in wealth, income and consumption. Economic inequalities can increase the higher rates of health and social problems such as obesity, mental illness, teenager’s birth, conflicts and disputes in different groups of the country and drug use, etc. All these health problems increases because income inequalities declines the rate of social goods such as level of education, life expectancy by different nation, trust among strangers and status of women, etc. Therefore, the current research report focuses on determining the impact of income inequalities on public health of entire population of the world (Boylan, 2008). Further, researcher wants to know that why income inequality is become an economic as well as health issue. Thus, study will focuses on association between income inequality and poor health status of people.

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As per the different historical studies individual income is a powerful determinant of individual health (Fillerup, 2007). Increment in individual income can improve the health status of each and every person. There are different factors which have direct impact on public health. All these factors have proportional and reverse relationship with income inequalities. These factors comprise the labour market, taxes, education, globalization, gender, economic and individual development and wealth concentration, etc. All these factors have direct and indirect impact on mental and physical health of individuals (Kumar and, 2011).

Study has chosen current research subject because large number of researcher has conducted investigation in income inequalities on particular country and their health and social problems but no one have conducted study in the aspect of world (Liamputtong, 2008). It is a universal health and economic issue so; researcher wants to determine the relationship between income inequalities and health problems of entire population of the world. It will help in determining the major issues associated with the income inequalities. In addition, it will also help in determining the actual reason behind the economic instability. Overall, it is a significant research study to determine the major impacts of income inequalities on public health of whole population of world (Pillay and Holtz, 2009).

Concept of income inequality

O'Riordan and McDermott, 2012 has stated that “Income inequality refers to the extent which represents the uneven distribution of the income in different groups of distinct countries of the world” (O'Riordan and McDermott, 2012). On the other hand, Lukic, Margaryan and Littlejohn, 2010 has asserted that “from last three decades income inequality increases the gap between rich and other people in terms of economic status” (Lukic, Margaryan and Littlejohn, 2010). &

There are different reasons behind the income inequalities. Lloyd, 2010 has stated that “globalization, changes in technologies, changes in education level, policy, politics and discrimination are major reasons behind the income equalities” (Lloyd, 2010). As per this statement all these factors can change the economic position of all over the world which can also influence the distribution of income in different groups. For example, due to the globalization lower skill labors of United States are facing problem of income inequalities because of the lower wages workers of Asian countries (Preece, 2010). In addition, skilled based technologies are also changing very rapidly which is augmenting the demand of skilled base worker. Due to the high demand worker increases their wages rates which create competition as well as situation of income inequalities. Along with this, politics of nation and government policies can also develop a situation of income inequalities (Tritter and, 2009). This is for the reason that tax rates of the government is same for rich as well as poor people which affect the income stability of poor one instead of the rich group. In addition, politics of the nation can develop a situation of discrimination which increases the income instability of country also (Unge and, 2010).&;

Role on income in public health

Income status of an organization plays very important role in improving health conditions of individuals. It helps in getting appropriate medical services for different health issues of individuals (Reisman, 2005). Along with this, through the appropriate level of income each individual can get appropriate education which helps in improving skills and knowledge about different diseases and health issues. It will provide assistance to each individual by which they can get protection from different diseases. In addition, changes in the government’s policy, rules and regulations also affect the level of income of each and every people which can create conflicts and stress level of each individual which have negative impact on mental and physical health of every individual. Overall income inequalities increase the total health issues for public of all over the world (Eriksson, 2012).

Health inequalities have been become a major concern for economic reformers of healthcare among the world. These have become unavoidable inequalities between people of countries as well as countries (Bhandari, Newton and Bernabé, 2014). Most of the health policy researchers are concerned about income inequality and its impact on public health problem. Many of the researchers have provided health benefits of egalitarian social policies to the other hand many of them have stated that there is little credible evidence that income inequality is a crucial factor of public health. In present era, income inequality is seen to be more than just an economic problem (De Maio, 2012). Healthcare researchers around the world have witnessed the public health consequences of income inequality. According to Esmaeili, Mansouri and Moshavash (2011) as more income will have to people they can easily access to resources and opportunities for good versus ill health while the people who have fewer economic resources will find difficulty in improve health. From the evidence of American countries, individuals with low-income are more likely to be far from quality health services. Such people are found with higher rates of chronic disease. In addition, they have shorter life-expectancy as compared to people having higher income (Harper and Hamblin, 2014). Various scientific studies conducted around the world have indicated, income inequality is an important determinant of health outcomes. In many countries, it has been found leading cause of declining life expectancy and premature death to infant mortality's well as obesity. According to the recent investigation of Harvard University School of Public Health, depression is the major health issue that is associated with uneven distribution of income (Parker and Sommer, 2012). The evidence have shown that raise in income inequality have lead to additional risk of death over a 12-year time period (Messias, 2003).

Income inequality and its impact on public health

Status of the income has direct impact on health condition of individual such as income inequalities are major risk factor of obesity, mental disorder, teenager’s pregnancy, conflicts and disputes and drug use (Exter, 2008). Individual cannot get appropriate education due to the lower income status which increases the mental pressure and stress in mind of individual which augments the chances of different health issues such as obesity and mental disorder. In addition, due to the lower education level teenagers do not have sufficient information about protection at the time of sexual relationship which increases the rate of teenager’s pregnancy in developed countries (Healy, 2011). Along with this, poor individual of the world do not have appropriate capability to get appropriate medical facilities for their normal health issues and it increases different health problem among them. Overall income inequalities increase public health disability among individuals of whole world (Kay, 2007).

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Prior to access the impact of income on health of public, it is important to identify the distribution of income within the countries. The fact is that people who have low level of income and unemployment have poorer health as compared to the people who are having professional jobs as well as higher incomes (Apfel, 2016). However, there are many factors such gender, ethnicity and geography put a greater emphasis on once health. There is a positive link between low income and poor health - income determines and lives of people. To the other side, deprived areas have witnessed with higher rates of serious ill health. Most of the lower social class people are involved in smoking, drinking, drug consumption and poor diet and obesity while the social group with higher income have seen well educated about health issues so they are taking early precautions to get rid from diseases (Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter?, 2015). The evidence from many countries have revealed the fact that people who are having low level of income can not access better health care services. Meanwhile, the people having higher level of income tend to approach better and improved services. Health diversity has been witnessed among the countries that are having unequal income distribution.

The facts over developing and developed countries about income inequities and public health

The effects of income inequality are not only seen to the poorest countries but it has been identified effective to the health of everyone. To the other points, income inequality is also associated with increased health care spendings (Parker and Sommer, 2012). The charge of health are services and curing of diseases have been raised due to use of advanced technology. The people having low income level are unable to access better health care services (Yang and Kanavos, 2012). This issue has been emerged in developing as well as developed countries. It is the fact, that income differences among the countries and between that countries affect the health of population. The rapid change in health technologies have narrowed country's relative population health and relative incomes. Mostly this issue has been seen in developing countries. Recent debates were made on the topic of global pricing of drugs and patent protection in which researchers have discussed whether faster transmission of drugs and vaccines are crucial for improvements in income distribution in poor countries (Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter?, 2015).

The prevalence of AIDS in developing countries has been found higher than compared to developed countries. To the other hand, diseases like malaria or tuberculosis ratio is higher in people having low income. Authors have found that, in case of major interactions the level of income distribution depends upon the health distribution in a country. The measure that reduces the spread of health conditions among people lead to narrow the income distribution. Within developing countries the trend of income distribution is found uneven that impact the spendings of people towards better health care services (Williams-Forson and Counihan, 2011). Generally, anything that helps people in recovering from illness is important to reduce long-term variance of health among the people of a country. Most of developed countries are having resources that lead to improve health of people, However, the cost of such equipments or resources is found higher that can not be afford by people having low income.

Major countries which have facing the income inequity and poor public health

According to the recent studies many of countries are facing issue of public health due to income inequity. The major facts from America revealed that economic inequality is one of the issue concerning to public health (Yang and Kanavos, 2012). The distribution of income is uneven within the country. The evidence of current research, economic inequality has been has reached to unexampled levels. The gap between super-rich and rest of the group has been increased and also to grow. The major household income has been adjusted that represented the uneven distribution of income (Darity, 2008). The country is considered to be the one among better health care service providers. However, the cost of curing disease is too high in the contrary as most of the services are provided through technical equipments and resources(Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter?, 2015).

The next in line country, facing issues of income inequity and poor public health is Canada.& According to the data revealed by Canadian Medical Association in 2012, presented the self-reported health that varies as per income level (Bhandari, Newton and Bernabé, 2014). The facts have shown that the people having high income level described their health as “excellent” or “very good” as compared to lower income group. However, in the same year lower and higher-income Canadians were able to access the health care services at a greater extend. The facts have shown that people having income less than $30,000 have accessed 16% more healthcare services than lower income group people. The data revealed that the low income group people are not capable of accessing people health care services. Hence, the income inequity within Canada represents poor public health (Harper and Hamblin, 2014). Let's take a case of other countries such as Spain, Denmark, Finland and Belgium where income inequality is unstable and impacts the child well-bigness. The consequences of unequal health distribution has been seen over the issues of mental health, obesity and other health ills. The major problems of health issues such as mental health, obesity are found to be lower income rate that has been emerged due to uneven distribution of income (Messias, 2003).

United Kingdom is the country facing the above mentioned issue due to uneven distribution of income. Many of researchers have established the link between income inequality and health. To the other hand, cross-partisan has supported the issue within the country. The poor population of UK is uneducated about the heath issues sop they are enabled to access proper care (Parker and Sommer, 2012). However, the countries have faced number of health problem related to poor distribution of health practices. The economic reformers as well as health reformers are moving towards promoting effective income distribution system so that people can assess effective healthcare services (Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter?, 2015). According to recent data, NHS, that is the largest healthcare provider of UK is facilitating health care services at free of cost. Beside this, the ratio of health issue has been increase due to improper distribution of Health care.

China is the in line country that have faced poor health endanger due to slow economic growth. However, the income level of country's people is not high that enables people to incur heavy health-care costs (Williams-Forson and Counihan, 2011). The major issue of country is to find affordable health-care services. The country is facing a heavy burden of chronic disease. The people do not have sufficient income to access proper healthcare services to get rid of such disease.

The major problem of unequal practices of income distribution is related to poor access of health care services around the world. As per the statistics, the patients who admitted in the hospital for heart failure they exposed to higher levels of inequality that increases risk of readmission within a month (De Maio, 2012). The risk of heart failure is found to the people, having high income distribution. The major problem within low income group is to access proper education of handling ill health. They do not have sufficient knowledge of identifying diseases so that they can be cure through proper treatment. The people having low level of income can not access the effective healthcare services, hence, their health decreases (Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter?, 2015). The people with low level of income are having number of issue associated with cost of medical services. The rapid change in environment has caused number of diseases that have impacted the health of patients. On the other hand the cost of curing illness has been increased due to the rapid phase in technology (Darity, 2008). Many of countries are facing the problems of income inequalities that have significantly influenced the healthcare system of countries. In addition, improper distribution of income has lead to increased poverty. The poor people of different countries are not having enough money to fulfil their basic needs. In this regard, how they can go to access improved health services; however, government has taken initiatives towards improving the health of people.

Different ways to reduce the negative impacts of income inequalities on public health of all over the world

As per the above discussion there are different negative impacts of income inequalities on public health of all over the world. There are different ways for reducing the negative impacts of income inequalities on public health of all over the world (Daly, 2012). These include increment in education level, changes in international health policies, health campaigns, free health services for lower class people of world, etc. All these ways are described as under:

Improvement in education level:As per the above discussion, income inequalities leads the lower education level which leads the low awareness among people about the sign and symptoms of different diseases which affect the public health of each and every individual of the whole world (Collins, 2009 ). So, by providing appropriate education facilities to all individual without consideration of the income status will help in improving the public health of public (Quaye, 2010). Regarding this, government of each nation can introduce the number of educational centre for all people. It will help in increasing the health education of each individual which will help them in getting appropriate medical facilities for different mental and physical problems. Therefore, improvement in level of education is one of the best ways to improve the public health of all over the world (Lloyd, 2010)

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Changes in international health policies: Sometimes government policies also increase the income inequalities among different countries. But, negative impacts of all these inequalities can be reduced by producing favorable health policies of government. Government should develop appropriate policies with consideration of availability of resources for children, affordable health education for public, increment in spending on public and welfare of state, etc (Healy, 2011). Along with this, government can also produce some favorable policies for individuals about the taxes on wealthy and economic democracy. Further, for managing the income inequalities government can introduce some appropriate policies for reducing the corruption in developed countries. It will help in maintaining the unequal distribution of income in different countries (Exter, 2008).

Health campaigns: Arrangement of health campaigns is also one the important way for reducing the negative impacts income inequalities. This health campaign must include all information about sign and symptoms of different types of diseases. Such types of health campaign increases the awareness of all patients about the various health issues which will help in reducing the negative impacts of income inequalities on public health of world (Reisman, 2005).

Initiatives towards providing free access of health services: The above selection represents the health issues faced by countries. The uneven distribution of income has facilitated varied income distribution among people (Impact of Income Inequality on Health: Does Environment Quality Matter, 2015). Most of the poor people have remained poor on the other hand rich people have more money to spend on living. Many of the people belongs to low income level are not capable to spend money on health services (Mellor and Milyo, 2003). The government of countries need to take steps towards providing free access to basic health care services so that poor people can have better basic health care service hence, public health of nation can be improved. United Kingdom have shown the evidence of positive impact of free access of health services in the form of NHS. Similar to this, other countries can go for offering free access to health service for poor or low level income group (Bhandari, Newton, and Bernabé, 2014). To the other hand, private health care providers can give rebate on basic health services to poor group so that they can be achieved better health and health graph of country can be improved.


The current research report can be concluded that income inequalities have negative impacts on public health of the world. It increases the different health issues such as obesity, mental illness, teenager’s birth, conflicts and disputes in different groups of the country and drug use, etc. Major impacts of income inequalities include the low distribution of income in different groups of nation and poor education level, etc (Kay, 2007). All these factors increases stress level of employees which have reduce the physical and mental capability of individual. Research and also determined the major reasons behind the income inequalities which includes globalization, changes in technologies, changes in education level, policy, politics and discrimination. Including this, study has described that income play very important role in public health. For example, strong income level is required for getting appropriate medical services for reducing the negative impacts of different types of diseases (Preece, 2010). Afterwards, it has described the different ways for reducing the negative impacts of income inequalities on public health of all over the world. These ways include improvement in education level, changes in international health policies, health campaign and free medical services for poor and required people of the world (Tritter and, 2009). The study herewith focused towards the problem of income inequality and public health issues around the world. The facts found in the study have witnessed the negative impact of income inequality on public health all around the world. The study have shown, the fact that low level of income and unemployment have poorer health as compared to group of higher incomes. It has also been seen that, different countries are facing poor public health issue due to income inequity.


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