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“Patterns of Racial Segregation” cause 22-year gap in life expectancy between neighborhoods in New Mexico’s largest county

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new report released this week by the PLACE MATTERS initiative finds that zip code and ethnicity determine the life expectancy of residents in Bernalillo County, N.M., with a difference of more than 22 years between communities. The county is the most densely populated area of the state with Hispanics making up the largest ethnic group at 46.7 percent, compared to 15.8 percent nationally.

Like other health equity studies conducted with PLACE MATTERS, an initiative of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this report confirms a gap in health outcomes for neighborhoods of color, caused by historic racial and social injustices such as segregation, which is seen in similar communities nationwide.

Key findings from the report show greater levels of environmental hazards in zip codes with large minority populations and low-income residents, including increased exposure to pollution and closer proximity to toxic facilities. County neighborhoods with the lowest levels of exposure to similar facilities are predominantly white and report higher incomes.

The report states “Where people live within Bernalillo County powerfully predicts whether they are healthy, whether they are sick and how long they live. Communities facing the greatest array of health risks have a larger percentage of low-income, immigrant and Hispanic families than communities facing the least health risks.”

Download the full report here for more findings. 

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