Large Life Expectancy Gaps in U.S. Cities Linked to Racial & Ethnic Segregation by Neighborhood

Jun. 5, 2019

NYU Langone Health

Among the 500 largest U.S. cities, 56 have very large life expectancy gaps between census tracts, where on average people in one neighborhood can expect to live 20 to 30 years longer than their neighbors a few miles away. These large life expectancy gaps occur most frequently in cities that have higher levels of racial and ethnic segregation, according to an analysis by researchers in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, using data from the City Health Dashboard.

The City Health Dashboard is an online, one-stop resource that allows users to view and compare data on 500 U.S. cities with populations of 66,000 people or more, from multiple national data sources on health and the factors that shape health to guide solutions that create healthier and more equitable communities.

The research team analyzed Dashboard data to identify factors associated with large gaps in average life expectancy across neighborhoods in 500 U.S. cities. They found that cities with greater degrees of racial and ethnic segregation more often had alarming disparities in life expectancy across different census tracts, which often are used as proxies for neighborhoods in public health research. The census tract life expectancy estimates were prepared by the United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP).

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