Cars are superior isolating agents, segregating us not only from other races and classes, but all kinds of “others” we encounter when we use public transit instead.
Our comparison shows that poor African-American neighborhoods should come with a surgeon general’s warning. When it comes to the leading causes of death in Chicago (cancer, heart disease, diabetes-related illnesses, stroke, and unintentional injury), the mortality rate in the five poorest neighborhoods—Riverdale, Fuller Park, Englewood, West Garfield Park, and East Garfield Park—was far higher than in the five least-poor neighborhoods— Mount Greenwood, Edison Park, Norwood Park, Beverly, and Clearing. For diabetes-related deaths, it was almost double; for unintentional injury, it was more than double. The infant mortality rate—the rate of death in the first year of life—was two and a half times as high. And the death rate from all causes was 60 percent higher than in the wealthier counterparts, and 43 percent higher than the citywide rate.