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Countries in one group had low average life expectancy, from 28 years in Mali to just under 50 years in El Salvador.In just the last 15 years, the average life expectancy of the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans has increased by two years for men, and three years for women.Like recent reports about many Americans' deteriorating health, this difference in life expectancy seems to reflect not just income and wealth inequality, but also unequal access to health care. Between 1960 and today, for example, average life expectancy in the U.S. increased from 70 to 79 years, whereas in Italy it increased from 69 to 83 years. While the average American lived one year longer than the average Italian in 1960, the average Italian now lives four years longer than the average American.This may explain why inequality has shot to the top of the political agenda in the U.S. and Europe in recent years. In his 2016 Democratic primary campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, condemned America's rising inequality and actually came closer to being elected president than many had expected.
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