Where You Live in Philadelphia Can Impact Your Life Expectancy
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ May 27, 2016
Are certain Philadelphia residents at greater risks of serious illnesses and personal injuries than are others? According to a recent article from Philly.com, there are certain areas of the city in which residents simply have a lower life expectancy than people who live in wealthier parts of the Philadelphia. And in most cases, the stark discrepancies are tied to income inequalities and poverty. Whether a lower life expectancy results from a failure to diagnose cancer at a treatable stage or a higher likelihood of a car accident fatality, those who live in Fairhill, which is a neighborhood in North Philadelphia, should not expect to live as long as people from Society Hill or Old City, according to the article.
Inequalities Result in Lower Qualities of Life and Care
As the article explains, residents of Fairhill are only expected to live, on average, to the age of 71. This neighborhood is known colloquially as “the Badlands,” and it is “the poorest community in America’s poorest big city.” To put that life expectancy of 71 years into perspective, it is lower than the current life expectancy in Syria or Iraq, which is currently 74 years old. Residents of the North Strawberry Mansion and Swampoodle area of Philadelphia—the “most violent place” in the city—have an even lower life expectancy. In this area, as the article points out, “a child born there today couldn’t count on living beyond age 68.”
In comparison to the overall average life expectancy in the United States, residents of Fairhill will live for about a decade less than the average American. In the U.S., the average life expectancy is 79 years.
But the problem is not widespread across Philadelphia. To be sure, the issue has to do with specific neighborhoods and stark income gaps. For as the article underscores, residents of Society Hill and Old City—neighborhoods that are only about five miles south of those we mentioned above—actually have some of the highest life expectancies. Indeed, the average life expectancy for babies born in these neighborhoods is 88 years old. That number is four years beyond the average life expectancy of 84 years old in Japan, which is “the country where people live longest.”
In short, in neighborhoods that are only about five miles apart from one another, there is a 20-year difference in the average life expectancy.
Link Between Health and Living Location
According to researchers who recently conducted a study on the correlation between living location and health, the place you live matters much more than some people might think. In addition to being exposed to assaults and other forms of violence in poorer neighborhoods, general health and wellness leave much to be desired. Living in poverty produces stress, and as the article emphasizes, “over the years, that tension ravages skin, sickens organs, stunts brain growth, and hastens ambulance rides toward crowded hospitals for heart disease, diabetes, and more.”
What could improve the lives (and perhaps life expectancy rates) of residents in North Philadelphia neighborhoods? Generally speaking, any initiatives aimed at making life less stressful on a daily basis could contribute to longer lifespans.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
When accidents and injuries result in life-threatening consequences, can injury victims file claims for compensation? At Cohen, Placitella & Roth PC, we are committed to assisting clients with a variety of personal injury claims. An experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can discuss your options with you today. Contact us for more information about our services.