Chronic diseases more often affect those on low incomes and more significantly reduce their life expectancy

Publications en anglais

Paru le 13/01/2023

Màj le 08/03/2023

Samuel Allain, in collaboration with Vianney Costemalle (DREES)


Between 2016 and 2017, the poorest 10% in France more often developed a chronic disease than the wealthiest 10%, with comparable age and sex: 2.8 times more cases of diabetes, 2.2 times more liver or pancreatic diseases, 2.0 times more psychiatric conditions, 1.6 times more chronic respiratory diseases, 1.5 times more neurological or degenerative diseases and 1.4 times more cardiovascular diseases. In contrast, they develop relatively fewer cancers. However, this report does not take into account potential social inequalities in view of the use of screening and differences depending on the type of cancer.

The risk of reporting a chronic disease also varies greatly between socio-professional groups. Therefore, executives and higher intellectual professions develop these less often than manual workers and employees.

As they develop chronic diseases more often, there are also greater numbers of those with the lowest incomes living with one of these diseases, although their mortality is relatively higher when they are ill.

Chronic diseases exacerbate social inequalities with regard to life expectancy: without these, the gap in life expectancy at birth between the wealthiest and poorest would fall by more than a third.