New Yorkers’ Life Expectancy Reaches 80.6 Years, Higher Than National Rate

The life expectancy for babies born in New York City reached 80.6 years in 2009, the highest level ever recorded and one that surpasses the national life expectancy rate, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Tuesday.

Life expectancy at birth in New York City has increased nearly three years since 2000; it is currently more than two years higher than the most recently reported national rate, 78.2 years.

“Today, newborn New Yorkers can expect to live longer, healthier lives than ever before, ” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference in the maternity ward of Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.

Life expectancy for 40-year-olds in New York City also increased, to 82 years in 2009 from 79.5 years in 2000, a gain of 2.5 years, compared with an increase of 1.2 years for the same age group nationwide. New Yorkers who are 70 saw their life expectancy increase 1.5 years, compared with 0.7 years for the same age group nationwide.

“If you have friends and relatives that you deeply care about and they live elsewhere, on average if they move to New York City, they will live longer,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Mr. Bloomberg has made public health one of his top policy priorities and has run high-profile campaigns against smoking, obesity and the consumption of salt.

The biggest factor in New Yorkers’ increased life expectancy, however, was unrelated to any of these. Instead, officials attributed it to expanded HIV testing and treatment, which resulted in a drastically reduced death rate from HIV and AIDS. The mortality rate from HIV infection in 2010 fell by 11.3 percent since 2009, and by 51.9 percent since 2002.

Other significant factors are a decline in deaths from heart disease and cancer; a decline in drug-related deaths; and a decline in infant mortality.

The city could not immediately provide a breakdown of life expectancy by ethnicity and borough. The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, said life expectancy was increasing among all groups, but was lower among minorities than among whites.

For much of the 20th century, New Yorkers lagged behind other Americans in life expectancy. The difference was greatest in 1990, when the AIDS crisis dragged down life expectancy in New York, particularly for men. The tide turned around 2000, when New York’s life-expectancy rate began surpassing the national rate.

The new life-expectancy figures were released by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Tuesday as part of its 2010 Summary of Vital Statistics. Other notable findings in the report:

* Deaths from car accidents declined by 5.6 percent since 2009 and by 32.0 percent from 2001.

* Deaths attributable to smoking in adults 35 or older decreased by 19.9 percent since 2002.

* Birth rates among teenage mothers decreased by 32.5 percent since 2001.

* Birth rates among women 30 to 39 years of age increased by 17.8 percent since 2001, and, among women 40 to 44 years of age, increased by 33.3 percent since 2001.

* Two illnesses, essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, appeared for the first time on the list of the top 10 causes of death, at No. 7. Deaths because of these illnesses increased by 10.5 percent since 2009 and by 30.3 percent since 2001. The increase was greatest among blacks, with the diseases accounting for 42 deaths per 100,000 blacks, the highest age-adjusted rate among all ethnic groups and nearly four times the rate for whites.

Dr. Farley said through a spokesman that the increase in deaths from these illnesses was possibly because of increases in salt intake or increases in diabetes linked to obesity.

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