Kentucky Health Issues Poll: Higher income people report better health; more adults in poverty | Health
KY (FOX19) - Having health insurance is an important factor in being able to get needed health care. Since 2008, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) has been tracking health opinions and the health status of adults in the state. KHIP is funded by The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
Since KHIP began, people with higher incomes have consistently reported better health status. Nearly 6 in 10 Kentuckians living above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) reported being in “excellent” or “very good” health since 2008. This compares with about 2 in 10 Kentuckians living below 100% FPL and about 3 in 10 living between 100% and 200% FPL. Kentucky is not alone. In similar national surveys, adults with higher incomes also report being in better health.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati has recognized that tracking the community’s health is important; one of the Bold Goals for Greater Cincinnati is, “By 2020, at least 70 percent of the community will report having excellent or very good health.” “With that in mind, one wonders, do healthy people make more money because they can work more days or at better jobs? Or are people who make more money healthier because they have resources to preserve and improve their health?” says Barbara Terry, vice president of community impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Jennifer Chubinski, director of community research for the Health Foundation, says, “It is not possible to clearly answer these questions, because many factors affect both health status and income. However, since KHIP began, people with higher incomes have consistently reported better health status.”
While health status for each income category has remained fairly constant, the number of people in each category has not. Since 2008, the percentage of adults living below 100% FPL has been steadily increasing from about 2 in 10 (19 percent) in 2008 to more than 3 in 10 (33 percent) in 2012.
The rise in poverty is of concern to anyone working to improve the health of Kentuckians. Research has shown a strong link between higher income and better health. As poverty has risen in Kentucky the percentage of adults reporting their health as excellent or very good has dropped from almost half (49 percent) in 2008 to just more than 4 in 10 (42 percent) in 2012.
More information about Kentuckians’ health in relation to their income, and other topics is available online at https://www.healthfoundation.org/kentucky-health-issues-poll.