Health Department Releases 2015 Summary of Vital Statistics Data Showing Progress in Overall Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the Past Decade

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.

Life Expectancy

  • The overall life expectancy at birth was 81.2 years in 2015, a slight 0.1-year decrease since 2014 (unpublished), a 0.1-year increase from 2013 (published in the 2014 Summary of Vital Statistics) and a 1.5-year increase since 2006.
  • Life expectancy continues to rise for non-Hispanic White New Yorkers — 81.2 to 81.3 from 2014 to 2015. Life expectancy for Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers decreased from 2014 to 2015 by 0.2-years.
  • The difference in life expectancy in high-poverty neighborhoods compared to low- poverty neighborhoods was 5.0 years in 2015, compared to 5.9 in 2006. Life expectancy was highest in Murray Hill and the Upper East Side (85.9 years) and lowest in Brownsville (75.1 years).

Premature Mortality (age under 65 years)

  • New York City’s 2015 age-adjusted premature death rate was 184.5 deaths per 100,000 population, a small decrease since 2014 and an 18.9 percent decrease since 2006.
  • Age-adjusted premature death rates continue to fall for Asian and Pacific Islanders and non-Hispanic Whites. However, age-adjusted premature mortality rates have risen for non-Hispanic Black (1.3 percent) and Hispanic New Yorkers (3.9 percent) from 2014.
  • The age-adjusted premature mortality rate decreased across all categories of neighborhood poverty between 2006 and 2015; however, the rate was 2.2 times higher in neighborhoods with very high poverty as compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2015.
  • The three leading causes of premature death in 2015 were cancer, heart disease, and drug use/poisoning.


  • The citywide age-adjusted death rate increased slightly between 2014 and 2015, from 580.4 per 100,000 population to 582.1 (0.29 percent increase). Over the past ten years, the age-adjusted death rate decreased by 15.9 percent.
  • The age-adjusted death rate rose for non-Hispanic Black (1.4 percent), non-Hispanic White (0.3 percent) and Hispanic New Yorkers (1.5 percent) since 2014.
  • 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 2006. The crude rates (data estimated at midyear) are down 26.3 percent, 4.6 percent, and 23.7 percent, respectively.
  • Age-adjusted, all-cause mortality rates were 1.4 times higher in neighborhoods with very high poverty compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2015, reflecting a consistent trend. The rate was 1.5 times greater in 2006.
  • Compared to 10 years ago, HIV has dropped out from the top 10 leading causes of death, and Alzheimer’s disease has risen from the 19th leading cause in 2006 to the 8th in 2015.

Infant Mortality

  • In 2015, New York City had an infant mortality rate of 4.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a slight increase since 2014 (4.2 per 1,000 live births). Due to the small number of deaths, the rate will fluctuate from year to year.
  • Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, the rate for non-Hispanic Blacks was three times higher, and the rate for Puerto Rican New Yorkers was 2.3 times higher.
  • Infant mortality rates have decreased among infants born to mothers in all age groups since 2006, although they remain two times higher in areas with very high poverty compared to areas with low poverty.


  • New York City’s 2015 crude birth rate was 14.2 births per 1,000 population, representing a 1.4 percent decrease since 2014 and a 9.0 percent decrease since 2006.
  • In 2015, the birth rate was highest among Asians and Pacific Islanders at 16.6 births per 1,000 population, followed by 14.7 among non-Hispanic Whites, 14.3 among Hispanics, and 12.1 among non-Hispanic Blacks.
  • Birth rates have increased between 2006 and 2015 for non-Hispanic Whites (6.5 percent) and decreased among all other groups: non-Hispanic Blacks (19.9 percent), Hispanics (20.6 percent), and Asians and Pacific Islanders (7.3 percent).
  • Teen birth rates have fallen sharply over the last 10 years, with a 46.8 percent decline among teens less than 20 years of age since 2006. However, rates remain comparatively high in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. In 2015, teen birth rates were 4.6 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 2006, the most dramatic decline has been seen in women aged 15-19 (56.8 percent).

Additional data can be found in the 2015 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics located on the agency’s website,

About OneNYC
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

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



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