“The South Contains Most Unhealthy Cities”

An image from Yahoo News, “These are the healthiest and unhealthiest US cities.”

doctor-patient

When Yahoo attempts to maintain racial diversity in published images, it sometimes makes little mistakes that reveal truth.

For instance, what are the demographics of major “unhealthy” cities in the South, per 2010 US census?

  1. Brownsville: 6% White
  2. Laredo: 4% White
  3. Gulfport: 55% White
  4. Shreveport: 42% White
  5. Huntington: 87% White
  6. Forth Smith: 65% White
  7. Augusta: 30% White
  8. Memphis: 28% White
  9. Detroit: 7% White
  10. Montgomery: 37% White
  11. Toledo: 62% White
  12. Corpus Christi: 34% White
  13. Columbus: 44% White
  14. Jackson: 18% White
  15. Mobile: 44% White

What are the demographics of the US? 64% White

Then, when you dig down into the data, you discover something interesting about the two cities on this list with above-normal White demographics.

  • The population of Huntington is only 50,000, and the population of Fort Smith is only 90,000, versus, say, Laredo with 240,000 or Toledo 290,000.
  • Ranking methodology includes such things as hospital beds, mental health counselors, farmer’s markets, gourmet specialty food stores, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, and parkland (plus hiking, walking, and running trails, each a separate item) – all per capita.

Fort Smith, about two hours from my home here in Little Rock, is literally on the doorstep of the Ouachita mountains and the Ouachita National Forest and Ozark mountains and Ozark National Forest, and alongside the Arkansas River – literally within the best geography found in Arkansas within 10 minutes of an interstate highway. Little Rock is home to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas Medical Center, so any desperately ill patient can obtain cutting-edge care without leaving the state. North of Fort Smith is the Fayetteville-Bentonville corridor, home of the flagship University of Arkansas campus and Wal-Mart headquarters, plus all the cultural, medical, and economic opportunities that accompany such institutions. Forth Smith is surrounded by farmland – both in Arkansas and Kansas – so why would anybody need a “farmer’s market” when most produce arriving at the grocery is local? Why would you need parkland or a “hiking trail” when literally hundreds of miles of trails are available at national forests, national parks, and state parks within 30 minutes of the location? In a deeply religious community served by many Christian ministers, is there much demand for mental health counselors? If the diet is “American,” why would there be a need for “gourmet specialty food stores?”

I suspect Huntington, Toledo, and even Gulfport suffer similar bias, yet even if we manage to explain why their inclusion on this list is an error, you’re left with minority-White cities dominating the list of unhealthy cities, and the only politically acceptable explanation for that racial correlation is “racism perpetrated by Whites,” despite all evidence to the contrary.

Don't bother.

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