Black children more likely to have and die from asthma than kids of any other race

The disparity is directly connected to poverty and living conditions, according to an investigation by the Associated Press

Darla Miles Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Black kids are more likely to have asthma than kids of any other race
Black children are more likely to have asthma than kids of any other race in America, an investigation released by the Associated Press found.

BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Black children are more likely to have asthma than kids of any other race in America.

New York City has one of the highest hospitalization rates from asthma in the country. Black and Latino children make up 80% of cases that require hospitalization.

"I've already got asthma. Two out of four of my kids have asthma. Now I just have to hope I can prevent it for my grandchildren," said Ivelisse Correa, with Black Lives Matter, Hartford.

Across the five boroughs, most health disparities are in the Hunts Point, Mott Haven, Highbridge and Morrisania sections of the Bronx.

Earlier this month, the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America announced a new partnership with AIRnyc, specifically targeting low poverty neighborhoods in the Bronx to develop unique asthma care and intervention services.

Research shows that Black children are more likely to live near polluting plants, and in rental housing with mold and other triggers, because of racist housing laws in the nation's past. Their asthma often is more severe and less likely to be controlled, because of poor medical care and mistrust of doctors.

About 4 million kids in the U.S. have asthma. More than 12% of Black kids nationwide suffer from the disease, compared with 5.5% of white children.

According to the CDC, Black children are eight times more likely to die from asthma than white children.

The disparities are built into a housing system shaped by the longstanding effects of slavery and Jim Crow-era laws. Many of the communities that have substandard housing today or are located near toxic sites are the same as those that were segregated and redlined decades ago.

Across America, nearly 4 in 10 Black children live in areas with poor environmental and health conditions compared to 1 in 10 white children. Factories spew nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Idling trucks and freeway traffic kick up noxious fumes and dust.

"When landlords are allowed to operate with absolute impunity... and you stick this poor housing in the middle of industrial areas, you just have this whole recipe for disaster," Correa said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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