Alameda County’s “Hot Spots of Death”

Tonight, Alameda County’s Public Health Director Anthony Iton will be one of the stars of a new PBS series on the dismaying tendency of poor Americans to die more than six years earlier than their wealthy and middle-class counterparts. Iton mapped the life expectancy of Alameda County residents, and found that it precisely correlated with household income; in other words, if you live in East or West Oakland, don’t count on collecting much Social Security. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Iton figures it has nothing to do with homicide or AIDS. Rather, poor people die of cancer and heart disease just like everyone else; they just do it sooner. The Chron even has a useful if low-tech map charting life expectancy across the county. Like Jared Diamond said: geography is destiny.

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