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PR- 453-11
December 27, 2011


City's Health Interventions Contribute to All-Time High Life Expectancy of 80.6 Years; Life Expectancy for a 40-Year-Old New Yorker Increased by 2.5 Years

Deaths From Leading Causes - HIV, Heart Disease and Cancer - Decrease as City Death Rate Falls to Historic Low

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley today announced that, surpassing national figures, New Yorkers are living longer than ever before. Influenced by New York City's aggressive public health initiatives and improvements in the quality of the health care delivery system, babies born in New York City in 2009 have the record high life expectancy of 80.6 years, an increase of nearly three years since 2000 and nearly two and a half years more than the most recently reported national rate of 78.2 years. Life expectancy for 40-year-olds in New York City increased by 2.5 years (79.5 to 82) from 2000 to 2009, a substantially greater gain than the 1.2 year increase for the same age group in the U.S. as a whole. At the same time, life expectancy for 70 year-olds in New York City increased 1.5 years, compared with .7 years for the nation. Not only did the City's life expectancy rate surpass the national rate, it improved faster than any major city for both women and men. The City's health interventions - including its smoking prevention programs and expanded HIV testing and treatment - have contributed to this success, with improved outcomes in HIV infection, heart disease and cancer prevention and treatment playing the largest role in the increase in life expectancy. The gains the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Gibbs and Dr. Farley announced today come before any future improvements in medical science are taken into account. The Mayor made the announcement at the maternity ward of Lincoln Hospital, which delivered 2,574 babies during 2010, where he was joined by State Senator Jose M. Serrano, Lincoln Hospital Deputy Executive Director, William Hicks, and Medical Director, Dr. Melissa Schori.

"If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "By investing in health care and continuing to encourage more New Yorkers to take charge of their own health, we've experienced dramatic improvements in life expectancy. This news really does make it a happy, healthy New Year."

"New York City residents are healthier than ever," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "Cleaner air, safer streets, healthier food - these all contribute to improved quality of our lives, and added years of life. This has come about through the creative ideas and determined implementation across many City agencies."

"Fewer New Yorkers are dying from HIV-related illness and smoking-related illnesses," said Health Commissioner Farley. "People with HIV infection are increasingly being identified through expanded HIV testing, and advances in the treatment of HIV infection are being made available to everyone with HIV sooner. Since 2002, nearly half a million New Yorkers have quit smoking and dramatically reduced their risk of heart disease and cancer that result from smoking. We will keep working to make New York City a healthier environment, which will not only lengthen life expectancy but also improve the quality of life of New Yorkers."

"As the nation's largest public healthcare system that serves one in eight New Yorkers and delivers nearly one quarter of the city's babies, HHC has played a critical role in making New York a healthier place to live," said HHC President Aviles. "Our investments in primary and preventive care, and our public health interventions that focus on helping patients manage their chronic medical conditions are making it possible for more and more New Yorkers to stay healthy and live longer."

"Mayor Bloomberg has consistently taken cancer prevention knowledge and turned it into effective policy," said Donald Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. "Programs that have prioritized access to cancer screenings, required calorie information at restaurants, made our bars and restaurants smoke-free and offered free nicotine patches all give New Yorkers the tools they need to live longer. It's certainly no surprise that the same year our city hits record lows for smoking rates, we also hit record highs life expectancy. The Mayor is to be applauded for his policies and their life-extending results."

From 2000 to 2009, New York City life expectancy rate at birth increased by nearly 3 years, far greater than the nationwide increase of nearly 1.5 years. The life expectancy of both men (78 years) and women (83 years) increased. The 2010 death rate reached an all-time low of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 New Yorkers. This marks a 13.5 percent decline from 7.4 deaths per 1,000 in 2002.  In 2009, the life expectancy for a 40-year old in New York City was 82, compared with 80.1 in the United States, while the life expectancy for a 70 year old in New York City 86.9, compared to 85.1 nationwide.

The Health Department analyzed data from death certificates and determined that improvements in prevention and treatment among the following diseases and conditions contributed the most to the increase in life expectancy.  Recent trends through 2010 in mortality rates for these conditions are included below, in order of significance.

HIV infection-related disease - Early identification and treatment of HIV infection has greatly reduced AIDS and HIV-related mortality. The mortality rate from HIV infection is declining at a faster rate than other causes of death in New York City; the rate is down by 11.3 percent since 2009 and 51.9 percent since 2002. 

New York City has led the way in HIV health interventions; the City's Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest provider of HIV primary care in New York City began offering HIV testing as a routine part of medical care five years before New York State began requiring that medical providers do so. The City's "The Bronx Knows" borough-wide HIV testing initiative has partnered with community organizations to conduct more than 600,000 HIV tests in three years and "Brooklyn Knows" in just one year's time has conducted nearly 115,000 tests that have enabled people from Williamsburg to Coney Island to learn their HIV status. Since 2005, HHC has diagnosed 10,700 HIV positive individuals, and linked and retained thousands in HIV primary care, improving their health and the health of the community.

More New Yorkers are getting tested than ever before, and those testing positive are getting into treatment faster, with more consistent care and treatment; more than 90 percent of patients diagnosed positive at HHC facilities are linked to life-saving HIV medical care and treatment within 90 days of being diagnosed.   In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, HHC facilities tested 195,516 patients - more than three times the number tested just six years earlier and preliminary data suggests that fewer than 3,500 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in New York City for 2010, a more than a 30 percent decrease from 2002.

Heart disease & cancer - Deaths from heart disease are down by 27.9 percent since 2002. This sharp decrease is attributable in part to a 35 percent decrease in the number of smokers since 2002, and in part to improvements in care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. Overall cancer mortality rates have decreased by 4.3 percent since 2002 from 170.2 to 162.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010.

The Mayor's anti-smoking efforts - including hard-hitting public health education campaigns, changes in legislation such as the 2002 Smoke-Free Air Act and excise taxes on cigarettes, and the 311 Quit-line, - have resulted in the City's 2010 all-time smoking low, with only 14 out of 100 New Yorkers still smoking. Smoking among teenagers has also dropped dramatically from 2001 to 2010 with the proportion of public high school students who smoke cut by more than half, from 18 percent to 7 percent.

Drug-related deaths - Deaths from overdose from heroin, cocaine/crack use, and other illicit drugs have fallen overall since 2002. Among people 15 years old and older the death rate from unintentional drug overdose declined to 9 deaths per 100,000 in 2010, a 24 percent decrease since 2002.

Infant mortality - Infant mortality rates have fallen, reflecting healthier mothers and better obstetric and pediatric care. In 2010, the City's infant mortality rate fell to a historic low of 4.9 deaths per 1,000 live births - the lowest rate since 1898 when the five boroughs were combined to form the modern City of New York. This improvement surpassed the city's Take Care New York goal of reducing the infant mortality rate to 5 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2012 and also surpassed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Healthy People 2020 goal of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The Health Department works on many fronts to help women stay as healthy as possible before pregnancy, obtain quality health care during pregnancy, and provide the care and support their babies need to thrive. For example, citywide efforts such as smoke-free air policies and educational campaigns to reduce smoking rates have contributed to a dip in smoking rates among women, from 19.8 percent in 2002 to 12.2 percent in 2010. Programs to increase accessibility of healthy foods are also contributing to a positive impact on the eating habits of women. The agency's key maternity initiatives include breastfeeding education, safe-sleep education, providing cribs for families that cannot afford them, and nurse home-visiting during pregnancy and early childhood.

Despite this progress, heart disease, cancer and influenza/pneumonia continue to rank as the top three leading causes of death, followed by lung disease and diabetes, and 30 percent of all deaths in New York City occur before age 65, with more than 15,000 New Yorkers dying prematurely.

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. The most up-to-date statistics are available by searching for 2010 Vital Statistics on Vital Statistics summaries dating as far back as 1961 are also available on that site. To learn how to obtain a birth or death certificate, visit or call 311.


Stu Loeser/Samantha Levine   (212) 788-2958

Susan Craig/Alexandra Waldhorn   (Health and Mental Hygiene)
(347) 396-4177


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