UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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Twenty-five years ago, American life expectancy ranked much higher than it does today.

Researchers attribute much of the 30-year increase in U.S. life expectancy over the 20th century to social changes like the 8-hour work day, better sanitation, the right to unionize, social security, a progressive income tax, environmental standards and civil rights laws – all of which not only improved social conditions but also ensured that economic prosperity was shared by more Americans.

Today, among industrialized countries, the U.S. has the greatest inequality and the worst health.

Although there isn’t one single solution, countries that try to reduce overall inequality and offer protections to those on the lower rungs have surpassed us with better health.

There is hope for the U.S. health dilemma - if we create better social policies.

Policies like living wage jobs, paid sick and family leave, guaranteed paid vacations, universal pre-school and guaranteed health care are a good start for improving conditions in the U.S. Others include more equitable education, transportation and land-use policies, improved housing and working conditions, and racial justice.