Do we give the gold to the first or to who did better than last
sabez at u.washington.edu
Tue Apr 22 09:54:32 PDT 2003
This comes up every year, as the media spins on how wonderful it is to die
younger in America than in some 25 other countries. If we finished so
poorly in the 100 meter dash, there'd be a presidential commission. One
way to create awareness would be to give media incentives that if they
write such trash, they have to include comparisons both within this
country, AND with outside the US! The background noise is that every year
health improves unless you screw up really bad, like after 1992 in
countries of the Former Soviet Union, or in high HIV prevalence countries
in Sub-Saharan Africa. Stephen
NYT April 22, 2003 For Long Life, Try Living in New York, Report Says By
The next time you start to mutter under your breath about how life in the
big city is taking years off your life, think about this: New Yorkers are
living a lot longer than they did a decade ago and are living longer than
Americans as a whole.
Life expectancy in New York City stands at an estimated 77.6 years over
all, the longest in history; 80.2 years for women; and 74.5 years for men,
the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported yesterday. As
for your fears of West Nile, anthrax, SARS, reckless cabbies and all the
other perils of life in the metropolis, consider that for the first time
in 60 years, life expectancy for New Yorkers is above the national
average, by about seven months.
The figures come from the department's annual summary of vital statistics,
a trivia lover's dream that includes 66 pages of data, from the big
picture to the minutia, on the lives and deaths of New Yorkers. The report
is available on the department's Web site at http://www.nyc
Life spans in the city are much longer than they were a decade ago, by 3.2
years for women and a striking 6.8 years for men, thanks mostly to the
drop in homicides and AIDS deaths.
Partly for those same reasons, black New Yorkers gained more ground than
others, but they continue to live about five years less than whites and
seven years less than Hispanics. The disparity is clearest among the very
old; non-Hispanic whites account for 35 percent of the city's population,
but they are 69 percent of the people 85 or older.
(Technically, the life expectancy figures are predictions for babies born
in 2000. But in fact, they are based on the ages at which people died in
1999 through 2001, not counting those killed in the World Trade Center
attack. If the trade center dead were included, the average would be
one-tenth of a year lower.)
In 2001, 124,023 new New Yorkers entered the world, or 15.5 per 1,000 of
population, the lowest rate since 1981.
Still, they more than compensated for the lowest death rate in the city's
history, 7.5 per thousand, or 60,218 people who drew their last within the
five boroughs in 2001. (If the trade center victims were included in that
calculation, it would still be the fourth-lowest the city had ever
Fewer New Yorkers die each year now than did a century ago, when the
city's population was less than half as big. Infant mortality in 2001 was
the lowest in history, 6.1 per 1,000, continuing a trend that has been
going on for decades.
Predictably, heart disease and cancer were the runaway leaders among
causes of death in 2001, as they are for all Americans, with a combined 63
percent of the total.
More surprising is that AIDS and H.I.V.-related ailments remained in third
place in the city. The disease caused 2 percent of all deaths in 2001, or
1,166 lives ended, mostly Hispanics and blacks, despite the drug cocktails
that have granted long life to so many infected people. AIDS and
H.I.V.-related ailments are still the leading cause of death among New
Yorkers ages 35 to 44.
Smoking, not technically considered a cause of death, was the underlying
cause of 7 percent of all deaths, the department said.
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