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Why Residents of 'Black ZIP Codes' Can't Breathe

Your location determines your risk of asthma more than any other factor, new research finds
relates to Why Residents of 'Black ZIP Codes' Can't Breathe
Patti Longmire/AP

Asthma is a lifelong affliction—crippling and expensive to manage. But it doesn’t affect everyone the same. The disease is much more prevalent among black and Puerto Rican children.

A new working paper, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, demonstrates that it’s the characteristics of places, not people, that are largely responsible for that disparity. So while a slew of related factors—income and education, birthweight, disparate access to health care—play a role in the prevalence of asthma, they may often be a reflection of where a person lives.