Skip to content

Montez Quoted in Boston Globe Article on Life Expectancy and Where People Live

April 24, 2023

The Boston Globe

Jennifer Karas Montez

Jennifer Karas Montez

There are many reasons people stretch their budgets and commutes to live in Massachusetts if they can, from familial obligations to economic or educational opportunities. One of the most compelling is that living in there can add literal years to one’s life.

University Professor Jennifer Karas Montez has studied how state policies affect life spans, and found that even less obvious policies play a significant role in determining how long we live. A higher minimum wage, for example—like the one in Massachusetts—has been shown to lower the risk of teenage pregnancy, smoking, obesity, low birth weights and infant mortality, Montez says. “There are all of these collateral benefits to what we think of as an economic policy, but it’s really a health policy, too.”

Just a few policy changes—particularly those related to gun safety, minimum wage, and paid leave—could make dramatic improvements to life expectancy, Montez says. In one study, she and other researchers found that, if every state simply implemented the same policy environment as Connecticut, “The U.S. would increase its life expectancy by roughly two years,” she says. “That is a massive increase.”

Read more in the Boston Globe article, “The brutal calculus of life expectancy and where you can afford to live.”

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall