Report reveals residents of Financial District have highest average life expectancy of all New York neighborhoods

In a recent study released by New York City's Department of Health, the Financial District has the highest life expectancy rate of all of New York neighborhoods--85.4 years. The last time the DOH released such data was nearly ten years ago, and many neighborhoods’ profiles have drastically changed since then. The study outlines individual neighborhoods and areas, ranking them against one another and comparing them to the borough-wide averages and city-wide averages. The data points include things like life expectancy, racial and economic demographics, causes of death, and acceptance of vaccinations. It also looks at details useful to those looking to sign a new apartment lease in the near future: levels of air pollution and the percentage of rental residences in a given area with recurring maintenance defects, for example. While Lower Manhattan ranks highly in multiple categories, like health and economic standing, many neighborhoods’ statistics are harrowingly low. For example, Brownsville, a neighborhood in Central Brooklyn, has a markedly lower life expectancy rate than neighborhoods like the Financial District, a reported difference of 11 years. The rates of obesity and diabetes in Prospect and Crown Heights, another area in Central Brooklyn, are more than triple and quadruple the rates reported for the Financial District. The infant mortality rate in Crown Heights and Prospect Heights is almost five times that of the Financial District, and the percentage of people without healthcare insurance is doubled in the Heights.

The profiles placed next to each other illuminate the stark inequality that accompanies the diversity often treasured in New York City. DOH Commissioner Mary Basset notes that the neighborhoods with lower life expectancies are not dying sooner due to  causes--like drug overdoses or gang violence--different from those living in more affluent areas with the higher expectancies: “[T]hey are dying of the same diseases—mostly heart disease and cancer—at younger ages and at higher rates.”

Given this observation, the profiles seem to call not only for awareness, but also for action on the parts of those within the communities. After seeing the lack of prenatal care and high rates of infant mortality in a given area in a single PDF document, it’s difficult to maintain that there is nothing to be done.

Basset states in the report: “Our hope is that you will use the data and information in these Community Health Profiles to advocate for your neighborhoods. … Our communities are not simply made up of individual behaviors, but are dynamic places where individuals interact with each other, with their immediate environments and with the policies that shape those environments.”

The King's College recently announced a long-awaited shift in their housing locations: the last of the Midtown residents will be officially moving down to the Financial District. After moving the campus from Midtown to lower Manhattan three years ago, a slow migration has been bringing students down towards the tip of Manhattan. The furthest student housing will be one subway stop away in Brooklyn Heights.

The move is a smart one, not only for the sake of campus community, but also based on the DoH's report. Both neighborhoods have lower rates of injury assault than city-wide rate, the Financial District's falling below one-third of the city's rate. Both neighborhood's score well with regards to housing quality maintenance defects, falling at or below the city average. The Financial District has one of the lowest incarceration rates of all the city's neighborhoods, and both neighborhoods report at least 80% of the population to have exercised in the past month.

The entire report with individual neighborhood profiles can be found on the Department of Health’s website.