Air Quality and Life Expectancy in the United States: An Analysis of the Moderating Effect of Income Inequality

Terrence D. Hill , University of Arizona
Andrew Jorgenson, Boston College
Peter Ore, University of Arizona
Kelly Balistreri, Bowling Green State University
Brett Clark, University of Utah

Although studies have shown that air pollution can be devastating to population health, little is known about the intersection of air pollution and income inequality. We investigate if air pollution is especially detrimental to the health of US state populations characterized by more inequitable distributions of income. We use two-way fixed-effects regression techniques to analyze longitudinal data for 49 US states and the District of Columbia (2000-2010) to model state-level life expectancy as a function of fine particulate matter, income inequality, and other state-level factors. We estimate models with interaction terms to assess whether the association between fine particulate matter and life expectancy varies by level of state income inequality. We observe that states with higher PM 2.5 levels tend to exhibit lower average life expectancy. We also find that the association between state PM 2.5 levels and average life expectancy intensifies in states with higher levels of income inequality.

See paper

 Presented in Session 156. Environmental Factors Associated With Health and Mortality