The average life expectancy for the U.S. population declined for two years in a row, falling from an all-time high of 78.8 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2016. The most significant declines in life expectancy were seen among poor minority communities, further widening the already large disparity in health outcomes between America’s rich and poor.
Health disparities are often starker and more concentrated in urban areas, where de facto segregation separates communities along racial and financial lines. The segregation of incomes and minority populations is often strengthened by discriminatory housing policies or even physical barriers such as highways and railroads and contributes to major health disparities between rich and poor communities. The life expectancy of two adjacent neighborhoods in some cities can vary by more than 10 years.
To determine the cities with the most unequal health outcomes, 24/7 Wall St. ranked 500 U.S. cities based on geographic health disparities at the census tract level with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 500 Cities project.