Journal Article

Income inequality and individual health status: Evidence from India

India has experienced a significant increase in income inequality in the past decade. It is widely accepted in the literature that income inequality is detrimental to individual health. Against this backdrop, the objective of the paper is to analyze the effect of income inequality on individual health status in the Indian context. We have examined two aspects: the impact of inequality on society in general and whether the effect of inequality is harsher on the poor as compared to the rich. We tested the income inequality hypothesis to answer the research questions. Using two rounds of India Human Development Survey data, a large-scale, nationally representative, panel data set collected in 2004–05 and 2011–12, we found a negative association between income inequality and individual health. Moreover, the poor are found to be the worst sufferers of income inequality and are more sensitive to ill health.