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Life Expectancy Is Associated With Segregation in U.S. Cities

“Your neighborhood shouldn’t influence your odds of seeing your grandchildren grow up,” says a researcher for NYU’s new analysis of City Health Dashboard data.
A woman gets a check-up in Chicago, where NYU researchers found life expectancies can vary up to 30 years between census tracts.
A woman gets a check-up in Chicago, where NYU researchers found life expectancies can vary up to 30 years between census tracts.Jim Young/Reuters

Two children are born and settle down in New York City. They live parallel lives, separated by a few blocks and a handle of corner bodegas. But the one who grows old on the Upper East Side lives to be nearly 90; and the one in East Harlem dies at 71. What happened?

The glaring divergence in life expectancy for these hypothetical—but all-too-typical—Manhattan residents is strongly associated with segregation, according to researchers in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine.