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North Texas zip code 76104 has lowest life expectancy in state

North Texas zip code 76104 has lowest life expectancy in state
North Texas zip code 76104 has lowest life expectancy in state 02:17

FORT WORTH ( – A grassroots initiative in Fort Worth is working to make sure the ZIP code where you live doesn't determine how long you live. 

"I grew up in this area, went to school in this area," said Rev. Kyev Tatum, the pastor of New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church in the 76104 ZIP code of south Fort Worth. 

It's the ZIP code with the lowest life expectancy in Texas – 67 years, which is more than a decade lower than the state average. 

According to the analysis by UT Southwestern, it's even less for black men who live there. 

"Out of the 11 people in our family that grew up in 104, only four are still alive, and not one lived beyond 64 years," Rev. Tatum said. 

In this part of 76104, Tatum says there is no grocery store, no pharmacy, and limited access to medical care, despite the fact that there are four major hospitals in the western portion of the ZIP code. 

"When you mix trauma with poverty, lack of access to healthcare – with all those things mixed together, it makes it difficult for one to have good health," said Dr. Mark Cunningham, an assistant professor at the UNT Health Science Center who is working with Tatum to change these outcomes. 

Morningside Promise Zone has created programming to focus on health, education, leadership and poverty. 

"This strategy we're using is a strategy that can help uplift," Tatum said. 

New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church holds free weekly tutoring sessions for students in the community, workshops on budgeting and home ownership, and events with free health screenings. 

The biggest focus right now is a monthly food giveaway. 

"We've become brass knuckle food fighters trying to find fresh food for our babies in the community because when they get out school, oftentimes they don't have that," said Tatum. "They don't have a fresh meal at night." 

Tatum and Cunningham believe their efforts are making a difference but say it's going to take even more resources. 

"We're not shaming and blaming," Tatum said. "We're not even complaining. We're explaining. But in reality, we need help. Period." 

The Morningside Promise Zone Coalition meets every Thursday at 11 a.m. at New Mount Rose, and they encourage anyone to join them to learn about the community's struggles and ways to help. 

"People should care because we all live in one community," said Jamie Williams, CEO of It's Time Texas, a statewide nonprofit working to extend the lives of Texans. "What happens in one community absolutely influences the things that are happening in another ZIP code." 

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