Dante Washington shown in shadow of his old, semi-blighted neighborhood in east Baltimore, MD on July 17, 2014. He defied the statistics of a 25-year-long research project that was turned into a book “The Long Shadow” which centers on children growing up in poverty -stricken areas of Baltimore. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)
Inequality in Baltimore has been thrust into the national spotlight this week, with riots and civil unrest in that city following the funeral of Freddie Gray. This inequality has roots that stretch deep into the past. It’s been exasperated by bad policy decisions in the present-day. And it makes itself felt in every aspect of life in the city, from the racial composition of neighborhoods to the number of empty houses standing in them.
For another illustration, let’s look at a hypothetical case of two babies born on the same day this year in Baltimore. One is born in Roland Park, a wealthy neighborhood in the north of the city. The other is born just three miles away in Downtown/Seton Hill, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
The Roland Park baby will most likely live to the age of 84, well above the U.S. average of 79. The Seton Hill baby, on the other hand, can expect to die 19 years earlier at the age of 65. That’s 14 years below the U.S. average. The average child born this year in Seton Hill will be dead before she can even begin to collect Social Security.
The only thing more astonishing than this 19-year gap in life expectancy is the short distance you have to travel in Baltimore to get from one extreme to another. Below, I’ve mapped the life expectancies for …read more