Risk of disability rises in states with income inequality

November 13, 2007

TORONTO, CDA. - A massive survey conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto reveals Americans living in states with high rates of income inequality are significantly more likely to have a disability that limits the completion of daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and mobility at home.

"We've always known personal income and education can affect one's health outcomes," says Esme Fuller-Thomson, study co-author and assistant professor of social work at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at U of T. "What we didn't know until now was the substantial strength of the relationship between state-level income inequality and disability. This research shows that individuals have a higher likelihood of physical disability when they live in states where wealth is distributed very unevenly."

Fuller-Thomson and Tahany Gadalla, study co-author and assistant professor of social work at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at U of T, looked at information collected from 645,000 Americans through the 2003 American Community Survey. Their study findings are published this month in the British journal Public Health.

Other key findings, which can be read online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00333506 (under Articles in Press) include:
-end-
For more information:

Esme Fuller-Thomson, Co-author: 416-978-3269 (office)

Tahany Gadalla, Co-author: 416-946-0623 (office) or 416 779 2418 (cell)

April Kemick, Media Relations Officer: 416-978-5949

University of Toronto

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