To correct the health disparities facing communities within the city of Tampa, we have to be able to identify where the communities in need are, what their specific needs are, and where the opportunities for us to help are.
A great resource for preliminary data on neighborhood statistics is the Hillsborough Interactive Map. The site allows you to sort through demographics, health statistics, government assistance records, and even FCAT scores. Addressing the needs of Hillsborough County means discovering the neighborhoods we may be missing.
The map below shows percentages of people living below the poverty line within Tampa. As you can see, the areas that are highly concentrated are in Sulphur Springs, the I-4 corridor, Tampa Heights and Ybor City.
The next map shows the homeless populations living in and around the city of Tampa. As you can see, there is a match in neighborhoods—with the highest concentration located near the I-4 corridor, followed by the Sulphur Springs, Ybor/ Palm Springs area, and the University area.
Finally, the third map shows areas of town with prevalence for low-weight births. Low birth weight is a sign of under-nutrition not only in the child, but also in the mother. Again, the highest concentrations are in Sulfur Springs, the University area, Tampa Heights and Ybor City.
Concurrent with these pockets of low income and poor health are the very same areas that have been labeled food deserts. For example, when you drive down Busch Boulevard (the University/Sulphur Springs area), the areas between Dale Mabry and 56th street (7.7 miles) are barren, lacking sources of fresh food—there are no grocery stores on Busch Boulevard between those two streets.
It is clear that the cycle of poor health due to poverty is perpetuated by limited access to fresh foods in low-income areas of town where small business growth and adequate education are lacking. If you would like to know more about health disparities, or find organizations that seek to help, visit our blog by clicking here: Health Equity Coalition.