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Underprivileged Teens In Baltimore Are Worse Off Than Those In Nigeria

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The riots roaring through Baltimore might seem less surprising after taking a deeper look at the heavily impoverished city.

A study taken last year found that Baltimore teenagers face more dangerous conditions than those being raised in underdeveloped cities in Africa and India, according to Vocativ.

Researchers led by Dr. Kristen Mmari, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, interviewed 2,400 kids ages 15 to 19 living in Baltimore, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Ibadan and New Delhi.

The questions helped the researchers determine the health risks of each area along with the teens' general perceptions of each city.

Baltimore is located in the wealthiest of the five nations, but its residents displayed higher rates of mental illness and substance abuse than in New Delhi and had witnessed more community violence than teenagers in Ibadan.

Ibadan teens had the most favorable perception of their city while the Baltimore teens gave their neighborhoods the lowest ratings, RT reports.

Dr. Mmari also observed a much higher notion of fear in the Baltimore kids, who felt more alone than the teens in the other cities.

She told Vocativ,

When you look at how they perceive their environments, kids in both Baltimore and Johannesburg are fearful. They don't feel safe from violence. This is something we didn't really see in other cities. In Shanghai, for example, there wasn't a great deal of violence. You'd ask kids about their safety concerns, and they would say something like, 'I'm afraid of crossing a busy street.'

Many young girls in Baltimore even felt threatened inside their homes.

Baltimore had a higher rate of sexual violence and teen pregnancy than in New Delhi, which is surprising considering the unfortunately high rates of rape in India

Researchers found that 50 percent of female teens in Baltimore had been pregnant, and more than 10 percent had been assaulted or raped by someone they weren't romantically involved with in 2013.

Baltimore additionally features more single-parent homes than New Delhi, despite the latter being much poorer.

According to Dr. Mmari, one Baltimore teen said,

'The kids are being raised by themselves.'

What sets Baltimore apart from the other cities, she concluded, is its lack of communal cohesiveness.

It's this overwhelming apathy toward kids that makes Baltimore more dangerous for such individuals than the other four locations.

Citations: Poor teens in Baltimore face worse conditions than those in Nigeria (RT), Baltimore Youths Have It Worse Than Those in Nigeria (Vocativ)