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Annual Vital Statistics Data Show Fewer Premature Deaths & Fewer Births in NYC in 2017

The NYC Health Department has released the 2017 Summary of Vital Statistics, which found that life expectancy in New York City was 81.2 years, a one-year increase since 2008. The age-adjusted premature death (before age 65) rate decreased by 2.4% from 2016. Teen birth rates fell sharply over the past 10 years, with a 56.2% decline among teens less than 20 years of age.

While the lifespan of New Yorkers is increasing, the data show areas of concern. Black New Yorkers still had the shortest life expectancy, at 77.3 years, and people living in very high-poverty neighborhoods had a premature death rate twice as high as people living in low-poverty neighborhoods. Further, while the infant mortality rate was similar to 2016, for non-Hispanic blacks it remained three times higher than the rate fornon-Hispanic whites. The Summary of Vital Statistics provides an overview of vital events in New York City. These data are derived from vital event certificates filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Summaries dating to 1961 are available on the Health Department’s website.

“The city’s progress in improving health outcomes continues, but there is much work still to ensure equitable health outcomes for all New Yorkers,” said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. “Closing the racial health equity gap requires closer alignment between public health, health care delivery and sectors that affect health such as housing and the communities we serve.”

Life Expectancy

  • New York City’s life expectancy at birth in 2017 was 81.2 years, remaining the same since 2016 and increasing by 1.0 year since 2008.
  • The New York City 2017 life expectancy at birth was 82.4 years among Hispanics, 81.3 years among non-Hispanic whites, and 77.3 years among non-Hispanic blacks. From 2016 to 2017, life expectancy increased 0.1 year among non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites, and remained the same among Hispanics.

Premature Mortality (death before age 65)

  • New York City’s 2017 age-adjusted premature death rate was 184.9 deaths per 100,000 population, a small decrease from 2016 and a 14.9 percent decrease since 2008.
  • From 2008 to 2017, age-adjusted premature death rates declined by 14.0% among non-Hispanic blacks, 18.4% among Hispanics, 14.6% among non-Hispanic whites, and increased by 6.7% among Asians and Pacific Islanders.  The age-adjusted premature mortality rate decreased across all categories of neighborhood poverty between 2008 and 2017; however, the rate in neighborhoods with very high poverty was 2.1 times the rate in neighborhoods with low poverty in 2017.
  • The three leading causes of premature death in 2017 were cancer, heart disease, and drug-related (includes chronic use and unintentional overdose).


  • The citywide age-adjusted death rate decreased between 2016 and 2017, from 575.4 per 100,000 population to 545.7. Over the past ten years, the age-adjusted death rate decreased by 17.4%.
  • From 2016 to 2017, the age-adjusted death rate decreased among Hispanics by 5.2%, among non-Hispanic blacks by 2.7%, among non-Hispanic whites by 6.1%, and among Asians and Pacific Islanders by 4.0%.
  • Death rates due to all three of the leading causes of death in New York City – heart disease, cancer, and influenza/pneumonia – have declined since 2008. The crude rates are down 20.0%, 1.2%, and 17.8%, respectively.
  • The age-adjusted mortality rate in neighborhoods with very high poverty was 1.5 times the rate in neighborhoods with low poverty in 2017, reflecting a consistent disparity – the rate was also 1.5 times as high in 2008.
  • Drug-related deaths have remained as the seventh leading cause of death in 2017 since 2016.

Infant Mortality

  • In 2017, New York City had an infant mortality rate of 4.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a slight increase since 2016 (4.1 per 1,000 live births). Due to the small number of deaths, the rate fluctuates from year to year.
  • The rate for non-Hispanic blacks was 3.3 times that of non-Hispanic whites in 2017.
  • From 2008 to 2017, the infant mortality rate declined in all poverty groups: by 12.8% in low poverty areas, by 6.5% in medium poverty areas, by 16.0% in high poverty areas, and by 28.4% for very high poverty areas.

Pregnancy Outcomes

  • The 2017 citywide crude birth rate was 13.6 births per 1,000 population. New York City’s birth rate decreased by 3.5% from 2016 and by 13.4% since 2008.
  • In 2017, the birth rate was highest among Asians and Pacific Islanders at 15.7 births per 1,000 population, followed by 14.7 among non-Hispanic whites, 13.1 among Hispanics, and 11.6 among non-Hispanic blacks.
  • From 2008 to 2017, birth rates fell among all teenagers, and the overall rate of teen birth (births to women <20) declined by 56.2%. Among teens less than 18 years of age, the birth rate declined over that period by 65.1%; among women 18-19, it declined by 52.5%.
  • The rates of induced and spontaneous terminations of pregnancy both continued to decline from 2016 to 2017, decreasing by 9.3% and 13.7%, respectively.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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