A new NYU School of Medicine analysis has found that the worst life expectancy gap between neighborhoods is in Chicago, between the upper-class Streeterville neighborhood and Englewood. Englewood is 95 percent Black. Streeterville is 73 percent white and 16 percent Asian.
Residents of Streeterville live to be 90, while residents in Englewood only live until about 60 years old.
The 30-year gap between the neighborhoods is the largest in the country, according to the NYU researchers, who examined life expectancies in neighborhoods in the 500 biggest U.S. cities based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2010 to 2015.
This issue is one that recently elected Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wanted to tackle while in office. During her campaign, she promised to focus on helping and improving the West and South side neighborhoods by improving schools, creating jobs and fostering economic development.
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that cities with bigger life expectancy gaps tended to have greater racial segregation. Chicago was more segregated than most of the other cities they analyzed.
“Often where there are greater concentrations in large cities of Latino or African American populations there can be neighborhoods, at times, where (there has been) more disinvestment in basic social services like education, housing, clean water, safe streets,” Dr. Marc Gourevitch, chair of the Department of Population Health at New York University medical school and chief architect of the City Health Dashboard, told The Chicago Sun-Times.
The research does not point out anything that Chicago residents haven’t known for decades already. the Chicago Life Expectancy project out of DePaul University conducted several years ago found that life expectancy in Englewood to be among the lowest in the city at 67 to 72 years, while life expectancy in the Loop and Near North was 81 to 84 years
“It just puts into stark focus the legacy and continuing inequality in Chicago, in that neighborhoods that are less than a dozen miles apart can have such radically different prospects for an individual’s life,” Euan Hague, director of DePaul’s School of Public Service and a member of the advisory board to the Center for Community Health Equity, told the Chicago Sun-Times.