Melanie Grayce West, Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2019
Older New Yorkers, who make up roughly 13% of the city’s population, are living longer than ever, according to a new report released Thursday from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The life-expectancy of older New Yorkers is now 81.2 years, roughly 2.5 years longer than the national average and up from the reported life expectancy of 80.9 years in 2010. Roughly half of the city’s older New Yorkers, defined as those 65 and older, were born outside the U.S. and are more likely to live in neighborhoods where there are high rates of poverty with less access to medical care.
Life expectancy is largely determined by where a person lives. New research this week from the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine found that large gaps were more likely in cities in which residential racial/ethnic segregation is more common.
In New York City, according to researchers, the life expectancy gap between neighborhoods is as much as 27.4 years. People living in a section of East Harlem may live, on average, 66.3 years, while those in parts of Chinatown live, on average, 93.6 years.
The two reports, taken together, “emphasizes the convergence of social issues that exist throughout the country and city and how they are exacerbated over time and impact individuals in their older years,” said Katelyn Andrews, director of public policy at LiveOn NY, a Manhattan-based advocacy group representing the city’s older New Yorkers. “We are seeing a lot of racial disparities when you are in your older years.”