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The Forgotten Middle: Exploring Life Expectancy Outcomes among the Lower-Middle Class

Life expectancy in the US is shorter than in all other high-income countries. And within the US, Americans in the lower-middle class are projected to live shorter lives with greater health and economic challenges compared with upper-middle class Americans, according to new research from experts at Columbia University and the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. In fact, Americans between the 15th and 45th economic percentiles nearing retirement age are no better off today than similar Americans in 1994. The increasing homeownership gap, stagnant wages, low health insurance rates, and increased health challenges likely drive this widening class disparity.

The Urban Institute invites you to a presentation and panel discussion identifying the causes and potential policy solutions to curb this trend.



  • Jack Chapel, PhD Candidate in Economics, University of Southern California
  • Jung Hyun Choi, Senior Research Associate, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Wendell Primus, Visiting Fellow, Center on Health Policy, Brookings Institution
  • David Rehkopf, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Stanford University 
  • John W. Rowe, Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Tisamarie Sherry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Erwin Tan, Director, Thought Leadership-Health, AARP
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute


This event is available for in-person or virtual participation. Please be sure to register correctly. In-person check-in will begin at 9:00 a.m. and a lunch reception will follow from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event. 

Date & Time Thursday, February 1, 2024
Urban Institute 500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington , DC , 20024
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Check-in will begin at 9:00 a.m. and a lunch reception will follow from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Urban Institute Speakers
  • President
  • Principal Research Associate