Life expectancy rises for Black and Hispanic New Yorkers; mortality and premature mortality decline.
Infant mortality reaches a historic low of 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
March 22, 2016 – The Health Department today released the 2014 Summary of Vital Statistics, which found that life expectancy at birth in New York City overall in 2013 was 81.1 years – a two-year, one-month increase since 2004. However, overall citywide rates often mask health disparities between high poverty and low poverty NYC neighborhoods, which continue to be seen in life expectancy, premature mortality, and infant mortality. In NYC, poor health outcomes often correlate with poverty in the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Data about life expectancy, as well as data on births, death and infant mortality are now available in this new report. Statistics in the annual report are broken down by racial/ethnic group, neighborhood, and gender. The Summary of Vital Statistics can be found on the agency’s website, nyc.gov/health.
These new data reinforce the commitment made by the de Blasio administration to aggressively and intentionally address health disparities. The City recently announced a comprehensive effort to reduce premature mortality in its OneNYC plan. The Health Department created the Center for Health Equity in 2014 to reduce health inequities and better address the health needs of neighborhoods that continue to face disproportionate disease burden and significant social, economic and health challenges.
“Long-term improvements in life expectancy and premature mortality mask the reality of long-standing inequity in NYC’s communities of color – inequity which has been driven by a legacy of persistent injustice,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “This report once again confirms that critical work that must be done to reverse the continuing and, in some cases, widening health disparities between NYC’s poor and rich neighborhoods. I want to acknowledge Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life.”
“This vital statistics report contains some great news,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “The rise in life expectancies and declines in premature mortality are cause for celebration. However, the continued disparities among communities highlights how much more work we have to do. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bassett for their dedication to eliminating health disparities between communities, and I look forward to partnering with them in this effort.”
“It’s important that New Yorkers’ life expectancy continues to increase and overall death and premature mortality rates keep declining. At the same time, the Health Department’s statistics show that poorer New Yorkers continue to suffer from health disparities, lending renewed urgency to the de Blasio administration’s focus on alleviating inequality throughout our city,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.
Premature Mortality (age under 65 years)
The Health Department will continue to address the social determinants of health, ensure the investment of much-needed resources, and expand services in neighborhoods bearing a disproportionate burden of poor health and premature mortality. In 2003, the Health Department created District Public Health Offices in East and Central Harlem, the South Bronx and the North and Central Brooklyn. The agency’s commitment to work in these neighborhoods expanded in 2014 with the launch of the Center for Health Equity. The mission of the Center for Health Equity is to eliminate health inequities by investing time and resources in key neighborhoods, building partnerships with other City agencies and community advocates that advance racial and social justice, and making injustice visible.
In 2015, the de Blasio administration unveiled OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City. One of its goals is to ensure that all New Yorkers live a long and healthy life. Premature mortality is closely tied to poverty, which, in NYC correlates with communities of color that have long undergone structural and historical oppression. The City has committed to reducing the premature mortality rate by 25% by 2040, and to dramatically decrease racial and ethnic disparities.
In October 2015, the Health Department launched Take Care New York 2020 – a comprehensive health blueprint that identifies key areas for health improvement and for advancing health equity. TCNY 2020 champions a community engagement approach, in which community members rank and prioritize health issues for their neighborhood to focus on and improve. These rankings – identified through a comprehensive citywide set of community consultations – are being used to develop localized action plans to address the top health issues identified by residents. To help inform the community consultation process, the Health Department produced Community Health Profiles for every neighborhood in the city, which provided data on and ranked each neighborhood according to 42 diverse, health-related indictors such as obesity rates, new HIV cases, high school graduation rates and air quality.
In February, during his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio also announced the opening of three new Neighborhood Health Action Centers that will provide space for primary care and much-needed holistic non-clinical services in underutilized City-owned buildings located in neighborhoods with high rates of excess morbidity and premature mortality.
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Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov