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Health Department summary reveals some promising, but some troubling trends

Date reflects pre-Covid New York

December 29, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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A summary of vital statistics released Wednesday by the city Health Department doesn’t take COVID-19 into account, but still reveals some important trends.

The summary pertains to the year 2019, prior to the COVID pandemic, because “data for 2020 beyond the final birth and death totals are still being analyzed,” according to the Health Department. 

Still, based on available totals, between 2018 and 2019 total births declined by 9.4% (110,442 births to 100,022 births) and total deaths increased by 51% (54,559 to 82,143).

In particular, the number of deaths for people under the age of 65 and the number of teen pregnancies both decreased. Life expectancy as a whole continued to rise. 

However, the number of drug-related deaths rose, as did the infant mortality rate. The infant mortality rate was highest for non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers, and life expectancy was also lowest for non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers. Hispanic New Yorkers had the highest life expectancy, but also the highest number of drug-related deaths.

 “We have seen the devastating toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in New York City and these new data from 2019 will help us better understand that toll,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “New Yorkers have suffered so much. My heart is with all New Yorkers mourning a friend, family member or loved one lost to this terrible virus.”

The 2019 citywide crude birth rate reached a historic low of 13.2 births per 1,000, and New York City’s age-adjusted premature death rate has declined by 5% from 2010 to 2019.

New York City’s life expectancy at birth in 2019 was 81.3 years, remaining the same since 2018, and increasing by 0.4 years since 2010, the statistic said.

Non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers had the lowest life expectancy among racial/ethnic groups at 77.1 years, while Hispanic New Yorkers had the highest at 82.3 years.

Life expectancy increased across all categories of neighborhood poverty between 2010 and 2019. For very high poverty areas, life expectancy increased by 1.4 years, compared to 1.9 years for low poverty areas.

 As far as the birth rate in general is concerned, the 2019 citywide crude birth rate was 13.2 births per 1,000 population. The rate decreased by 2.9% from 2018 and decreased by 12.6% since 2010.

In 2019, the birth rate was highest among Asians and Pacific Islanders at 15.2 births per 1,000 population, followed by 14.6 among non-Hispanic whites, 12.5 among Hispanics, and 11.0 among non-Hispanic Blacks.

The teen pregnancy rate (15-19 years of age) decreased by 59.1% since 2010, and 0.9% since 2018. Since 2010, the citywide pregnancy rate has declined by 20.6%, from 115.6 pregnancies per 1,000 females aged 15-44 to 91.8.

The premature death rate (for people less than 65 years old) declined by 5.0% from 2010 to 2019. Between 2018 and 2019, there was a slight increase in the age-adjusted premature death rate from 187.1 per 100,000 population to 190.7 per 100,000 population.

From 2018 to 2019, the age-adjusted death rate increased among Hispanics by 0.7%, and decreased among non-Hispanic Blacks by 1.3%, among non-Hispanic whites by 3.1%, and among Asians and Pacific Islanders by 5.6%.

Death rate due to unintentional drug overdose continued to rise, with a 7.3% increase from 2018. The 2019 drug-related death rate was highest among Hispanic New Yorkers. For the first time since 2010, the drug-related death rate for 55-64 year-olds was higher than all other age groups.

Finally, the infant mortality rate was 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019, a 7.7% increase from 2018, and the rate for non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers was 3.3 times the rate for non-Hispanic whites. The rate may vary from year to year due to smaller numbers.

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