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Babies born 3 miles apart in New York have a 9-year life expectancy gap


A baby born today in Murray Hill, a neighborhood in midtown Manhattan, has a life expectancy of 85 years. A baby born six subway stops north, in East Harlem, has a life expectancy of 76.

That's a nine-year gap, within just a few miles. It shows up on this map, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, meant to highlight the massive health-care gaps that exist within cities.

(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

RWJF, a health-care-focused nonprofit, mapped a few other cities on life expectancy, and the results are similar. There's a 16-year life expectancy gap within urban Chicago.

(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

In Richmond, Virginia, the differences are even more dramatic: a 20-year difference in life expectancy within five miles.

(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

More of the RWJF maps are available here, of cities such as Atlanta and Las Vegas. And they all make a similar point: where Americans live, grow up, and settle defines their health to a surprising degree. Study after study now finds that dozens of environmental factors — ranging from access to hospital to access to playgrounds — are powerful predictors of how long people will live in the United States, and how healthy they will be.