Historical Redlining Affects Health of Communities Today

A joint study between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco found that redlining in the past still affects the health of communities today. The authors note “even though a policy gets eliminated or is recognized to be a poor choice, its effect can have impacts even many decades later… We need to use that information to help us inform our current policies and thinking about what potential ramifications are down the road.”

The researchers used historic redlining maps and compared them with air quality and health outcome data from the same census tracts. They found residents of previously red-lined neighborhoods “visited the emergency room for asthma-related complaints 2.4 times more often than residents of other neighborhoods. The researchers noted air pollution isn’t the only factor behind disparities in redlined neighborhoods. “The psychosocial stresses associated with living in neighborhoods that have been historically divested from – including poverty, high crime rates, and even poor political reputation – have also been linked to asthma and must be addressed in efforts to improve public health.”

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