Borough Park

The neighborhoods where Brooklynites live the longest — and the shortest

July 8, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
Borough Park. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Residents of Borough Park live longer, on average, than most New Yorkers, while people who live in Brownsville live more than half a decade less, according to recently released Community Health Profiles from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The average life expectancy for New York City is 81.2 years, according to the data — 2.5 years higher than the nationwide average.

Life expectancy in Brooklyn varies by neighborhood, with some doing better than the city average — and others falling startlingly short.

Residents of Borough Park live an average of three years longer (84.2 years), Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay following close behind (both neighborhoods land at almost 84). Meanwhile, Brownsville residents live 6.1 years less, on average (75.1).

Dr. Torian Easterling, acting deputy commissioner for the Center of Health Equity, told the Brooklyn Eagle that while it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why a neighborhood’s average life expectancy falls where it does (there are “multiple factors,” he said), the inequity in and of itself is something worth stressing.

“I think what it means is that we need to have a full picture of why certain communities, certain neighborhoods and certain people are not able to achieve full optimum health on their own,” he said.

“From a general standpoint, our agency has always said that social and economic indicators play a large part in the life expectancy, good health and wellbeing of a neighborhood,” Easterling said, pointing to specific components affecting communities like affordable housing, access to city parks and a neighborhood’s incarceration rates.

According to the profiles, per 100,000 adults ages 16 and older, just 155 people were incarcerated in Borough Park from 2015 to 2016. In Brownsville,1,698 were imprisoned. (The average borough-wide is 460).

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In both parts of the borough, however, the same percentage of people — 28 — live in poverty. The unemployment rate is higher in Brownsville (14 percent, compared to 6 percent in Borough Park), but more residents are rent-burdened in Borough Park (65 percent, compared to 57 percent in Brownsville).

“What we need to look at, as a society, is how are we reinvesting in communities that have had long-standing disinvestment,” Easterling told the Eagle.

At the end of the day, the majority of adults in both neighborhoods reported that their own health was good, according to the profiles — a good sign, according to the agency, which claims that how residents feel about their own health can be a good measure of both mental and physical wellness.

Here’s how the rest of the borough compares in terms of average life expectancy:

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