Increased social spending by government can decrease mortality rates

New York, March 2 (IANS) Even small increases in social spending — monies for welfare, education, and health — can significantly reduce the risk of dying, says a US-based study.

Each additional $250 spent per person per year on welfare can lead to three percentage point lower probability of their dying from any cause, the findings showed.

“My findings highlight the health benefits of welfare and education spending, in particular, and the harm that increasing or maintaining the gap between the rich and the poor can have on everyone’s health,” said researcher Daniel Kim, associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston, US.

The findings were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

The study, involving more than 430,000 adults, examined the effects of US state and local social spending on mortality.

In his study, Kim examined six leading causes of death in the US in older adults: coronary heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and suicide.

Most affected by state and local government social spending was coronary heart disease, which kills more than 370,000 people annually, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kim found that each additional $250 spent per person per year on welfare reduced the chances of dying from heart disease by nearly two percentage points, and the same amount spent per person on education reduced the chances by almost one percentage point.

His analysis also showed that the bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the greater the chance a person had of dying.

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