Poverty kills, it seems. As if it’s not bad enough in itself. Although death is often multicausal, a study has tried to estimate in how many cases poverty is a contributing factor:
For 2000, the study attributed 176,000 deaths to racial segregation and 133,000 to individual poverty. The numbers are substantial. For example, looking at direct causes of death, 119,000 people in the United States die from accidents each year, and 156,000 from lung cancer.
How does the causal chain operate? Poverty contributes to poor health, in different ways:
- poor people tend to have jobs or occupations that are physically hazardous
- they often live in environmentally unsound circumstances
- they can’t afford a healthy diet
- their lack of education makes it harder to take the right health decisions
- they may lack adequate health insurance and health screening
- substandard housing can cause health problems etc.
More human rights facts here.