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Black Belt

Picture of Anna Maria Barry-Jester
A FiveThirtyEight reporter on how she tackled an ambitious series on a huge, overlooked health crisis.
Picture of Katharine Gammon
“I was really interested in the question of how slavery and historic institutions play out in health outcomes today,” Anna Barry-Jester of 538 told fellow journalists this week.
Picture of Anna Maria Barry-Jester
The Southern region referred to as the Black Belt is one of the most persistently poor in the country, life expectancies are among the shortest, and poor health outcomes are common.
Picture of Anna Maria Barry-Jester
Maps of the modern plagues of health disparities — rural hospital closings, medical provider shortages, poor education outcomes, poverty and mortality — all glow along this Southern corridor.

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