University of Minnesota associate professor of sociology John Robert Warren and graduate student Elaine Hernandez found that the relative advantage in child mortality rates and health associated with social and economic advantage was about the same at the end of the 20th century as it was 100 years earlier.
Despite advances in nutrition, immunization and environmental factors, people with more money, more education and higher status jobs experience consistently better health and lower child mortality rates, the researchers said.
"Public health has improved dramatically in the United States since 1900 -- people from all socioeconomic groups are living longer and healthier," Warren said in a statement. "However, the relative advantage associated with wealth and education has persisted."
The findings are reported in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.