Updated Mapping Project Highlights Areas of Lincoln Facing Big Challenges

Oct. 29, 2021, noon ·

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An updated, data-driven mapping project in Lincoln that tracks how where a person lives affects their health has been unveiled and shows a slight decline in poverty since 2019, but also some troubling trends when it comes to outcomes for people of color.

The mapping project, called “Place Matters 4.0”, uses health data to produce maps that illustrate how where a person lives can drastically affect their health and financial stability. This is the fourth set of maps the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln has released, the last in 2019. Lori Seibel is president of the organization and said the biggest takeaway this year is that poverty has a dramatic and direct impact on life expectancy in Lincoln.

“Among the census tracks where poverty is greater than 30%, the average life expectancy is 72 years. For census tracks where poverty is less than 5%, the average life expectancy is 82 years,” Seibel said.

The new maps show a stark linkage between people of color and poverty and should accelerate the city’s work toward ensuring health equity. Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said the city will use the maps as what she calls “a springboard for action”.

“Through this data-driven information, visualized so beautifully in this new report, we see more clearly how we as a community can make even more targeted and strategic investments that will enhance everyone’s opportunities to live better lives and we can see where we can target those investments in places that need them the most,” Gaylor Baird said.

The newest maps also show more rental properties in lower income parts of the city and a lack of prenatal care in some areas that directly affects outcomes for children.