Health statistics improve overall, but low-income areas lag behind

January 5, 2021 Raanan Geberer
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Report gives stats for each Brooklyn neighborhood


Life expectancy in New York City has increased over the past decade to 81.3 years, teen birth rates declined 55.1 percent and the infant mortality rate reached a new low of 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.

These figures are from the New York City Health Department’s 2018 Summary of Vital Statistics, which was released on Monday. The summary also broke down the figures not only by borough, but by community district/neighborhood.

 “In the last decade, we’ve made some great strides in improving health outcomes for New Yorkers,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Nevertheless, we must continue to address disparities and reach greater racial, ethnic and neighborhood equity in those outcomes.” 

The Summary of Vital Statistics provides an overview of birth and death events in New York City. These data are derived from vital event certificates filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Summaries dating back to 1961 are available on the Health Department’s website.

As far as life expectancy at birth in Brooklyn is concerned, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Borough Park all have rates of 84 years or more. The lowest rates, at 76 years, 78 years and 79 years, are in Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York, respectively.

The lowest age-adjusted death rate was in Greenpoint-Williamsburg, at 472.4 per 100,000 people. The highest were in Brownsville, at 822.4, and East New York, at 693.0.

The lowest infant mortality rates per 1,000 population were in Fort Greene-Brooklyn Heights, at 1.6, and Greenpoint-Williamsburg, at 2.6. The highest were Brownsville, at 6.3, and East New York, at 6.9.

The community with the highest birth rate, according to the report, was Borough Park with 24.9 births per 1,000 population, followed by 18.4 in Williamsburg/Greenpoint with 18.2. This is probably because these areas have many Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox Jews who don’t believe in birth control and tend to have large families.  The lowest in Brooklyn were Bensonhurst, at 12.5, and Bay Ridge, at 12.1.–>

The figures also give “pregnancy outcomes” by hospital within each borough. The hospital that hosted the largest number of live births in 2018 was Maimonides Medical Center at 8,055. The lowest number of births  took place in the Brooklyn Birthing Center on Ocean Avenue, which describes itself as a “freestanding birthing center,” at 169. The actual hospital with the lowest number of births was Brookdale, at 872.

 Though the data show strides forward for New Yorkers’ health outcomes, there remain areas of concern. Black New Yorkers still had the shortest life expectancy, at 77.2 years, compared to 82.4 years among Hispanics and 81.3 years among non-Hispanic whites. 

People living in very high-poverty neighborhoods had a premature death rate 2.4 times as high as people living in low-poverty neighborhoods, a slight increase from 2017. In Brooklyn, this translates into high rates in every category in East New York and Brownsville.

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