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Preston Curve

  • 05 Jun 2024
  • 1 min read

Source: TH

The Preston curve refers to the empirical relationship between life expectancy and per capita income in a country, proposed by American sociologist Samuel H. Preston in 1975.

  • The curve shows that people in richer countries generally have longer life spans compared to those in poorer countries, likely due to better access to healthcare, education, nutrition, etc.
  • As a poor country's per capita income rises, its life expectancy increases significantly initially.
    • For example, India's per capita income rose from Rs 9,000 in 1947 to
  • Rs 55,000 in 2011, while life expectancy increased from 32 to 66 years.
  • However, the positive relationship between per capita income and life expectancy starts to flatten out beyond a certain point, as the human lifespan cannot be increased indefinitely.
  • The positive relationship shown by the Preston curve applies can also be applied to other development indicators like infant/maternal mortality, education, healthcare, etc.


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