In City Limits’ series Death’s Disparities, we explore the persistent and, by some measures, growing gap in life expectancy between low-income New York and the rest of the city. Even though life expectancy has improved for all groups in the city, the improvements have in recent years favored better-off areas.
It’s a complicated issue that combines old problem and new challenges, and one that a host of policy efforts–each with their own pros and cons–is aimed at addressing. Here’s one crude way to size up the differences in health outcomes in different neighborhoods: Using the estimates of life expectancy published in the city’s 2014 summary of vital statistics, how long might a person born in one neighborhood expect to live, and how does the rest of the city match up?
The timeline below maps out those expected lifelines by community district: Assuming a birth date of January 1, 2013, it reflects the date in the future at which the imaginary average resident of each area might expect to expire. The point isn’t that a death date is determined for any one person, anywhere, or that the relationships among these neighborhoods won’t shift over time. Rather, the point is that based on health conditions that prevail today, people living in different areas face vastly different prospects, on average.
What Kills New Yorkers
Mapping the leading causes of death
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