Health Department Releases Annual Vital Statistics Data Showing Improvements for the City Overall, But Disparities between Neighborhoods Persist

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,

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.

Report Highlights

Life Expectancy

  • NYC’s 2013 life expectancy at birth was 81.1 years, a two year and one month increase since 2004.
  • Life expectancy continues to rise for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic New Yorkers – about one month for each group from 2012 to 2013.
  • The difference in life expectancy in very high poverty neighborhoods compared to low poverty neighborhoods rose to 7.4 in 2013, compared to 5.8 in 2005, indicating a widening health disparity.
  • Life expectancy for non-Hispanic Whites decreased by two months between 2012 and 2013.
  • Life expectancy was highest in Battery Park/Tribeca (85.9 years) and lowest in Brownsville (74.4 years).

Premature Mortality (age under 65 years)

  • New York City’s 2014 age-adjusted premature death rate was 186 deaths per 100,000 population, a 21.2% decline since 2005.
  • The age-adjusted premature mortality rate was 2.5 times greater in neighborhoods with very high poverty as compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2014, reflecting a consistent and increasing trend of higher premature mortality in neighborhoods of higher poverty – the rate was 2.3 times greater in 2005.
  • The three leading causes of premature death in 2014 were cancer, heart disease, and drug use/poisoning.


  • New York City’s 2014 age-adjusted death rate declined by 2.5% since 2013 and 18.9% since 2005.
  • Death rates due to all three of the leading causes of death in New York City – heart disease, cancer, and influenza/pneumonia – have declined since 2005. The rates are down 30.8%, 5.1%, and 28.1%, respectively.
  • Age-adjusted all-cause mortality rates were 1.7 times greater in very high poverty neighborhoods compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2014, reflecting a consistent and increasing trend – the rate was 1.5 times greater in 2005.
  • Since 2005, death rates for all three leading causes of accidental deaths – unintended drug overdose, falls and motor vehicle-related – have declined overall.
  • For the third year in a row Alzheimer’s disease surpassed HIV on the list of the top 10 causes of death overall. When broken down by racial/ethnic group, HIV is still among the top 10 leadings cause of death for non-Hispanic blacks.

Infant Mortality

  • NYC’s infant mortality rate reached a historic low in 2014 of 4.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, moving NYC closer toward the OneNYC goal of 3.7 per 1,000 live births by 2040. However, Puerto Rican and non-Hispanic black New Yorkers experience infant mortality rates that are nearly twice the citywide rate.
  • Infant mortality rates have decreased among infants born to mothers in all age groups since 2005, although they remain about 1.5 times higher in areas with very high poverty compared to areas with low poverty.


  • New York City’s 2014 crude birth rate was 14.4 births per 1,000 population – representing a 0.7% increase since 2013. This is the first increase in the citywide birth rate since 2007.
  • Birth rates have increased between 2005 and 2014 for non-Hispanic Whites (9.7%) and declined for Hispanics (18.1%) and non-Hispanic Blacks (16.2%).
  • Birth rates were highest in Borough Park (27.4 births per 1,000) and lowest in Bayside (5.7 births per 1,000).
  • Teen birth rates have fallen over the last 10 years, with a 51% decline among teens less than 18 years of age since 2005. However, rates remain comparatively high in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. In 2014, teen birth rates were 5.9 times greater in the city’s very high poverty neighborhoods compared to the low poverty neighborhoods.
  • The induced termination of pregnancy crude rate continues to decline citywide and across all racial/ethnic groups. Since 2005, the most dramatic decline has been seen in women aged 15-19 (49.1%).

Citywide Efforts

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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