The aim of this paper is to identify the age-, sex- and cause-specific premature mortality rates contributing to the association between life expectancy and income distribution in developed countries. On finding evidence suggesting that reported income distribution is strongly affected by low response rates in some surveys, the authors used two measures of income distribution: that among households where the household head was aged less than 65 and among households with children. Both measures of income distribution showed broadly similar results. A more egalitarian distribution of income was related to lower all-cause mortality rates in both sexes in most age groups. Income distribution was associated not only with larger absolute changes in mortality from these causes, but also with larger proportionate changes.