Many recent studies point to increasing inequality in mortality in the United States over the past 20 years. These studies often use mortality rates in middle and old age. We used poverty level rankings of groups of U.S. counties as a basis for analyzing inequality in mortality for all age groups in 1990, 2000, and 2010. Consistent with previous studies, we found increasing inequality in mortality at older ages. For children and young adults below age 20, however, we found strong mortality improvements that were most pronounced in poorer counties, implying a strong decrease in mortality inequality. These younger cohorts will form the future adult U.S. population, so this research suggests that inequality in old-age mortality is likely to decline.
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