How Social Factors Shape Health: Income, Wealth and Health

Beyond the link between economic resources and the ability to afford health insurance and medical care, there is strong evidence showing relationships between income, wealth and health. This issue brief summarizes the evidence that health varies with income and wealth. It also provides an overview of what is currently known about the pathways and biological mechanisms that can explain the links between economic resources and health, and briefly discusses the implications for policy.

This is one in a series of 12 issue briefs on the social determinants of health. The series began as a product of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America and continues as a part of the Foundation's Vulnerable Populations Portfolio.