Mayor Bloomberg is interpreting new life expectancy statistics showing New Yorkers live longer than anybody else to mean that other Americans should relocate to NYC for their health. However, you may not need to move to the city to reap some of the benefits New Yorkers enjoy.
The Times City Room blog reports that according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's latest Summary of Vital Statistics, the life expectancy of New Yorkers in 2009 was 80.6 years, 2 years higher than the national average of 78.2 years. Says Bloomberg, "If you have friends and relatives that you deeply care about and they live elsewhere, on average if they move to New York City, they will live longer." Despite the well-known health benefits of cramming into packed subway cars and paying nine zillion dollars in rent, there's nothing magic about living in New York. Nor have Bloomberg's public health campaigns — against obesity, smoking, and salt consumption — made the biggest difference in New Yorkers' lifespan. Rather, experts say the increase is due to better HIV testing and treatment.
HIV death rates have been falling consistently in New York in recent years — in 2010, the mortality rate was down 11.3% since 2009, and 51.9% since 2002. That makes a big dent in overall deaths citywide. When New York City's life expectancy was much lower than the national average, that was due to HIV/AIDS too. In 1990, when the difference was greatest, the cause was a disproportionate number of AIDS deaths among New Yorkers. The Summary also notes that deaths related to heart disease, cancer, drugs, and infant mortality are down in New York — so maybe some of Bloomberg's policies are working. But really, if you want to live longer, you don't need to move — just go out and get tested.
New Yorkers' Life Expectancy Reaches 80.6 Years, Higher Than National Rate [NYT City Room Blog, via Newser]