Baltimore is in the news, and not for the best reasons. The arrest and eventual death of Freddie Gray have unleashed a series of protests and riots. One conference where the Healthcare Economist had a poster presentation–the American Heart Association (AHA) Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions (conference) was cancelled this week due to the protests.
Today we focus on the health of the residents in Baltimore–particularly African American residents. Quartz reports that:
In Baltimore, the average life expectancy is 73.5 years, five years less than the national average, and for African Americans the divide is even higher: at 70.2, their life expectancy is 5.6 years lower than the US average.
Cardiovascular disease and HIV are much higher among African Americans in Baltimore than the national average.
According to a 2011 Baltimore City Health Department Report, in the Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park neighborhood, life expectancy is only 65.3. The teen birth rate is almost twice as high as the citywide average and infant mortality is also twice as high.
Slate reports that the incarceration rate in Mr. Gray’s neighborhood was also extremely high:
For starters, look at the juvenile arrest rate: Citywide, Baltimore saw 145.1 kids out of every thousand arrested between 2005 and 2009; in Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park, that number was 252.3. As the Baltimore Sun pointed out in an op-ed, that means a quarter of all 10-to-17-year-olds in Gray’s neighborhood were arrested at some point during the time period in question.
It is a sad situation. An tragic death. Riots. Chaos. Although the level of frustration is understandable, at least some community members will not tolerate this level of chaos.