New Maps Reveal How Racial Segregation Shortens Life Expectancies Across US

New Maps Reveal How Racial Segregation Shortens Life Expectancies Across US

Sarah Sloat, Inverse, June 10, 2019. Available Here.


Before the 1960s, segregating residential areas by race was both legal and ubiquitous. However, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, doing so became illegal — technically. Metro areas have seen a decline in racial stratification since 1990, but de facto segregation continues through various means. New data shows how the repercussions of segregation can be a matter of life or death.

On Wednesday, New York University’s School of Medicine introduced a new tool called the City Health Dashboard, a database that lets users view and compare the country’s 500 largest cities across a variety of metrics including, but not limited to, binge drinking, violent crime, and opioid overdose deaths. Exploring within cities shows how the data changes across neighborhoods.

In a demonstration of what this sort of data system can do, researchers from NYU’s Department of Population Health examined the relationship between life expectancy gaps and levels of racial and ethnic segregation. The latter is measured in the Dashboard as the distribution of the racial and ethnic groups within a neighborhood compared to the distribution across the city. In turn, they found that the cities with greater degrees of racial and ethnic segregation were also the places with the most “alarming” life expectancy gaps.


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