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