According to a story in Reuters Health on Friday Aug 31, 2001, a small increase in pay can have a very beneficial effect on your health. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, assessed the health benefits that San Francisco city contract workers would gain if a proposed wage increase went into effect. Currently, these workers make an average of $8.66 per hour, which would be increased to $11.00 per hour.
The lead researcher, Bhatia and his colleague Dr. Mitchell Katz estimated how the wage hike would affect the health of the worker and his or her family. Bhatia explained, “This is an applied epidemiological study looking at what is known about income and health–that people who earn more money tend to have better health outcomes–and apply the findings to public policy.”
The results of the researchers reports were published in the September issue of the American Public Health Association’s, American Journal of Public Health. In that report the results showed that an increase in salary would result in the following.
- 5% drop in deaths for all causes among workers
- reductions in the number of days sick in bed
- reductions in limitations of work and activities of daily living
- reductions in depressive symptoms
- 34% increase in the odds that the children will complete high school
- 22% reduction in the number of teen pregnancies.
- One negative, the increased salary would result in an increase in alcohol consumption
“Our analysis demonstrates that a modest gain in income resulting from a living wage would be associated with substantial health benefits,” Bhatia and Katz report.