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

New Yorkers live longer than the average American: Life expectancy was 81.2 years for all New Yorkers versus 78.4 years nationally

Black New Yorkers had the shortest life expectancy at 77.2 years and an infant mortality rate that was three times higher than Whites

July 27, 2018 – The Health Department today released the 2016 Summary of Vital Statistics, an annual report of births and deaths in New York City. Life expectancy in New York City is 81.2 years, a 1.1 year increase since 2007. Nationally, Americans live 78.4 years. 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 2007. Teen birth rates have also fallen sharply over the last 10 years, with a 54.1 percent decline. However, racial disparities still persist. Black New Yorkers had the shortest life expectancy at 77.2 years, and infant mortality for Blacks was three times higher than for Whites. People living in high-poverty neighborhoods also had a premature death rate that was twice as high as people living in low-poverty neighborhoods. Read the report.

These new data reinforce the commitment made by the de Blasio Administration and the Health Department to aggressively and intentionally address health disparities. The Health Department created the Center for Health Equity in 2014 to meet the health needs of neighborhoods that continue to face disproportionate disease burden and significant social, economic and health challenges. In 2015, the City announced a comprehensive effort to reduce premature mortality in its OneNYC plan. Additionally, under the Take Care New York (TCNY) 2020 initiative, the Health Department produced Community Health Profiles, which provided data on every neighborhood in the city according to 42 diverse, health-related indicators.

“The Annual Summary of Vital Statistics documents the improving health of New Yorkers, but the data demonstrate that we have more to do to eliminate the health disparities that still exist in our city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “As a part of the effort to address these disparities, the Health Department opened three Neighborhood Health Action Centers to provide resources and programs to communities in Brownsville, East Harlem, and Tremont, and began an effort to view everything we do through the prism of racial disparities to improve our work. We are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers live long and healthy lives, no matter their race, where they live or their economic status.”

"While the annual Summary of Vital Statistics report reveals that New Yorkers are living longer as a result of improving key health indicators in our city, it also sheds a necessary light on the racial and socio-economic disparities that continue to impact the health outcomes of minority and low-income communities," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I am committed to working with our City's administration to ensure all New Yorkers have adequate access to health regardless of the color of their skin or where they live."

“The latest vital health statistics demonstrate that New York City continues to be a nationwide leader in effective urban health policy,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee. “However, the persistent racial and socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes remain deeply concerning, and are a clear reminder that we must continue investing in--and expanding--programs such as Neighborhood Health Action Centers to confront this issue in the areas of the City where they're needed most."

“While the general outlook of health across the city trends in a positive direction, we continue to see persistent health disparities that are drawn sharply on racial, gender, and class lines,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “In New York City, black women are now 12 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to City data. Now is the time to think about how to address these crises head-on. It is heartening to see the Health Department respond to these disparities with three new Neighborhood Health Action Centers in neighborhoods that need additional resources, and the City must continue to scale up such programs to address these disparities. I look forward to continuing to work on these pressing public health issues.”

Report Highlights

Life Expectancy

  • Life expectancy at birth in 2016 overall was 81.2 years, remaining the same since 2015 and increasing by 1.1 year since 2007.
  • Life expectancy at birth was 82.4 years among Latinos, and 81.2 years among Whites. Blacks had the shortest life expectancy at 77.2 years. From 2015 to 2016, life expectancy decreased 0.1 year among Blacks and Whites, and remained the same among Latinos.

Premature Mortality (death before age 65)

  • The 2016 age-adjusted premature death rate was 189.4 deaths per 100,000 population, a small increase since 2015 and a 13.6 percent decrease since 2007.
  • From 2007 to 2016, age-adjusted premature death rates declined by 16.7 percent among Blacks, 12.1 percent among Latinos, 11.5 percent among Whites, and 5.0 percent among Asians and Pacific Islanders.
  • The age-adjusted premature mortality rate decreased across all categories of neighborhood poverty between 2007 and 2016; however, the rate was 2.3 times higher in neighborhoods with very high poverty as compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2016.
  • The three leading causes of premature death in 2016 were cancer, heart disease, and influenza/pneumonia.

Mortality

  • The citywide age-adjusted death rate decreased slightly between 2015 and 2016, from 582.1 per 100,000 population to 575.4. Over the past ten years, the age-adjusted death rate decreased by 13.8 percent.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the age-adjusted all-cause death rate remained the same among Latinos and decreased among Blacks by 1.4 percent, among Whites by 1.6 percent, and among Asians and Pacific Islanders by 0.5 percent.
  • 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 2007. The crude rates are down 22.4 percent, 1.0 percent, and 13.2 percent, respectively.
  • Age-adjusted all-cause mortality rates were 1.5 times higher in neighborhoods with very high poverty compared to neighborhoods with low poverty in 2016, reflecting a consistent disparity – the rate was 1.5 times greater in 2007.
  • Drug-related deaths have risen to the seventh leading cause of death in 2016 from the tenth leading cause in 2015.
  • In 2017, the City launched HealingNYC, a comprehensive strategy to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 35 percent by 2022.

Infant Mortality

  • In 2016, New York City had an infant mortality rate of 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a slight decrease since 2015 (4.3 per 1,000 live births). Due to the small number of deaths, the rate will fluctuate from year to year.
  • Compared to Whites, the infant mortality rate for Blacks was three times higher.
  • From 2007 to 2016, the infant mortality rate declined in all poverty groups – by 39.5 percent in low-poverty areas, by 13.0 percent in medium-poverty areas, by 31.6 percent in high-poverty areas, and by 29.5 percent for very high-poverty areas.

Pregnancy Outcomes

  • The 2016 citywide crude birth rate was 14.1 births per 1,000 population. New York City’s birth rate decreased by 0.7 percent since 2015 and by 11.9 percent since 2007.
  • In 2016, the birth rate was highest among Asians and Pacific Islanders at 17.3 births per 1,000 population, followed by 14.8 among Whites, 13.7 among Latinos, and 11.8 among Blacks.
  • From 2007 to 2016, birth rates fell among all teenagers regardless of age, and the overall rate of teen birth (births to women under 20) declined by 54.1 percent. Among teens less than 18 years of age, the birth rate declined over that period by 63.0 percent; among women 18 to19, it declined by 50.4 percent.
  • The rate of induced terminations of pregnancy continued to decline from 2015 to 2016, decreasing by 5.3 percent. The rate of spontaneous terminations of pregnancy remained the same from 2015 to 2016.

City and Health Department programs that support health equity for all New Yorkers include:

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 provides space for primary care clinics, community-based organizations and Health Department staff to work together to advance neighborhood health. For more information, visit the Center for Health Equity.

OneNYC

OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City has a goal 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.

Take Care New York

Take Care New York 2020 champions a community engagement approach, in which community members rank health issues for their neighborhood to focus on and improve. 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 indicators such as obesity rates, new HIV cases, high school graduation rates and air quality. For more information, visit Take Care New York 2020.

About HealingNYC

HealingNYC is a comprehensive, citywide response to disrupt the opioid crisis and save lives. The City will distribute 100,000 naloxone kits to community-based organizations, all NYPD patrol officers and City shelters. In order to prevent more deaths and address risky opioid use, the City will educate clinicians to judiciously prescribe opioids, invest in early interventions for youth, expand crisis intervention services for nonfatal overdose and connect high-risk communities with targeted prevention messages and care. The City will also help connect an additional 20,000 New Yorkers living with opioid use disorder to medication-assisted treatment by 2022 and reduce the supply of dangerous opioids. HealingNYC will fund the public education campaign for an additional two years through June 2019. Learn more about HealingNYC.

About the Annual Summary

The Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, the Health Department’s yearly report of births and deaths in New York City, is compiled by the agency’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. Its tables, graphs and figures present health statistics according to ethnic group, gender, age, health district, community district and borough of residence. Death rates are age-adjusted when the adjustment facilitates comparisons over time and among geographic areas. Vital Statistics Annual Summaries as far back as 1961 are available at nyc.gov/health.

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