Life expectancy reaches 81.2 years for all New Yorkers
People living in high-poverty neighborhoods have a premature death rate twice as high as people living in low-poverty neighborhoods
May 19, 2017 — The Health Department today released the 2015 Summary of Vital Statistics (PDF), which found that life expectancy in New York City was 81.2 years, a one-year, six-month increase since 2006. Premature death (before age 65) rates improved, decreasing by 19 percent since 2006. Death rates due to all three of the leading causes of death in the city — heart disease, cancer, and influenza/pneumonia — have declined. Teen birth rates have also fallen sharply over the last 10 years, with a 46.8 percent decline among teens less than 20 years of age. The summary also showed that disparities persist. Black New Yorkers still have the shortest life expectancy at 77.3 years, and people living in high-poverty neighborhoods have a premature death rate that is twice as high as people living in low-poverty neighborhoods. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic Blacks was three times higher, and the rate for Puerto Rican New Yorkers was 2.3 times higher. These new data reinforce the commitment made by the de Blasio administration and the Health Department to address health disparities and expand services in neighborhoods bearing a disproportionate burden of poor health and premature mortality.
Last month, the department’s Center for Health Equity, with a $3 million commitment from Mayor de Blasio, launched the Neighborhood Health Action Centers which provide local primary care and community services under one roof. In 2015, the City unveiled the OneNYC plan to reduce premature mortality rates, and the Health Department launched Take Care New York 2020, a comprehensive health blueprint of the city. The Summary of Vital Statistics provides an overview of vital events in New York City. These data are derived from vital event certificates filed with the Office of Vital Records and summaries dating to 1961 are available on the Health Department’s website.
“The annual Summary of Vital Statistics, the Health Department’s oldest continuously published document outlining the health of New Yorkers, tells us that we have more work to do in closing gaps in health disparities that exist in populations and neighborhoods across the city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Through our work at the agency’s Center for Health Equity and the recently launched Neighborhood Health Action Centers, we are investing in a place-based approach to public health that seeks to create neighborhoods where individuals thrive.”
“Identifying problems is the first step in solving them,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. "This report shows significant positive trends in a number of arenas, while affirming that more still needs to be done to ensure that every community has equal access to healthcare. I want to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett for their strong track records on public health.”
“It's encouraging that New York City has experienced a significant increase in overall life expectancy and decline in the rates of premature death and teen pregnancies over the last decade. But the persistent and troubling disparities in health outcomes by race and economic status point to the need for new administration initiatives to expand and improve health care services in poorer neighborhoods with a lower life expectancy,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee.
Premature Mortality (age under 65 years)
Additional data can be found in the 2015 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics located on the agency’s website, nyc.gov/health.
The goal of OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City is to ensure that all New Yorkers live a long and healthy life. Premature mortality is closely tied to poverty, which, in New York City correlates with communities of color that have long undergone structural and historical oppression. Under the OneNYC plan, the City has committed to reducing the premature mortality rate by 25 percent by 2040.
About the Center for Health Equity
Founded in 2014, the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity amplifies the agency’s work to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes in neighborhoods with disproportionately high rates of chronic disease and premature death. The Neighborhood Health Action Centers, which opened last month, provide space for primary care clinics, community-based organizations and Health Department staff to work together to advance neighborhood health. For more information on the Center for Health Equity, visit www.nyc.gov/health/CHE.
About Take Care New York
Take Care New York 2020 is the Health Department’s blueprint for a healthier life for everyone. With TCNY, the Health Department is working together with community residents and partners to identify their most important health priorities and to improve the health of their neighborhoods. For more information about Take Care New York 2020, visit nyc.gov/tcny2020.
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