Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)
Flag of the District of Columbia (Courtesy of dpw.dc.gov)

A recent article published on the website WordInBlack.com identifies locations in the U.S. where Black people are living the longest.

The article written by Alexa Spencer reports on a study by Dr. Andre Perry, author of the book “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities” and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy nonprofit.

Perry and other researchers scanned the U.S. and discovered that communities where Black people “are living past the national average of 74-years-old,” include Manassas Park, Virginia, a city of roughly 17,000 located 30 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., and Weld County, Colorado, a metropolitan area just north of Denver that’s home to 378,000 people. Both ranked highest with life expectancies of 96 years old.

“The same can be said for Loudon, Fairfax, Prince William, and Montgomery counties in Virginia — all located outside of Washington, D.C. — where Black residents are living up to 82 years old, on average,” according to the article.

The research was conducted in conjunction with the NAACP, and it is called the Black Progress Index, which looks at how problems are solved and the social conditions causing success by mapping the conditions where Black folks live the longest. It also provides community attributes that contribute to longevity including homeownership, business ownership, high income, public school performance, and college education.

The study also shows that homeownership and educational attainment actually add years to Black lives, while social conditions including air pollution, density, and gun-related fatalities, reduce the average number of years a Black person will live.

The research seeks to demonstrate that where investments are made to improve social conditions are the places where Black lives thrive.

The collaboration between the NAACP and Brookings will continue and the data will be updated every year.

“I think that this is going to be one of the go-to sources to understand the conditions of Black America moving forward,” Perry said.

This will not only prove what disinvestment in communities can cause – it’s killing us, but it also shows that investments made equitably in communities that need it will help to improve the quality of life and longevity.

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