This morning's Study of The Day is actually a poll, in which The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index conducted with a random phone-interview sample of U.S. adults and looked at the prevalence of chronic illnesses.
They found a variety of chronic health problems disproportionately affecting the poor, with the incidence of depression showing the strongest disparity: 31 percent of Americans under the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty threshold in 2011 had been diagnosed with the disorder, as opposed to 15.8 percent of those not in poverty:
The increased rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks likely come along with the heightened levels of obesity among this group, and with the fact that this demographic is much more likely to be smokers.
It's a small difference, but cancer rates were actually 0.8 points lower for those in poverty, and the same group was less frequently diagnosed with high cholesterol as well. Salient here, of course, is that the poll surveyed diagnoses -- these are both conditions that may go symptomless, and so it is quite possible that the numbers seen here are a reflection of reduced access to testing and routine medical care. As another line of questioning revealed, adults living in poverty had more difficulty attaining basic health necessities like insurance or access to a personal physician. Those in poverty reported having more trouble affording medicine and, to a surprisingly large extent, even being able to access medication in the area in which they live.