Sep 2, 2019
On average, people in richer neighborhoods can expect to live 20 or 30 years longer than their neighbors a few miles away, according to a new report from New York University.
In the Chicago lakefront neighborhood of Streeterville, residents live 90 years on average, whereas in Englewood, located only eight miles away, life expectancy is just 60 years. In Washington, D.C., New York City and New Orleans, the study also found gaps of more than 25 years in life expectancy between richer and poorer neighborhoods.
This stark gap in life expectancy is produced by class divisions and racism. Streeterville, which is mostly white, has a median income of nearly $100,000 a year, while Englewood, which is mostly black, has an average income of just $25,000 a year.
Starting in the 1980s, Englewood residents lost jobs at places like Sears and Nabisco, increasing unemployment. All the problems of poverty followed, including violence and poor health. Grocery stores closed, so that residents had to buy at corner stores, where the prices are high and there’s no fresh fruit or vegetables.
For decades, Englewood residents also suffered one of the highest rates of residential lead contamination, which is known to cause irreversible brain damage, especially in children.
By contrast, Streeterville has farmers’ markets, nice parks and safe streets.
Every city has neighborhoods with the same contrast. This is what it really means to live and die in a racist, class society like ours.