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Health Disparities in New York City


Key Findings in This Report

  • Much progress has been made in reducing health disparities in New York City, but substantial inequalities remain among New Yorkers of different economic and racial/ethnic groups.
  • Poor New Yorkers, as well as African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers, bear a disproportionate burden of illness and premature death.
  • The poorest New Yorkers are 4 times more likely to report poor overall health than the wealthiest.
  • The rate of new HIV diagnoses is about 6 times as high among Blacks as among Whites.
  • Hispanic New Yorkers are more than twice as likely to have diabetes as White New Yorkers.
  • Disparities in diabetes are widening: From 1999–2001, Black New Yorkers were about 3 times as likely to die from diabetes as White New Yorkers.
  • Poor health is concentrated in certain New York City neighborhoods.
  • In 2001, the life expectancy in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods was 8 years shorter than in its wealthiest neighborhoods.
  • If the all-cause mortality rate in the wealthiest neighborhoods existed in the poorest neighborhoods, more than 4,000 deaths could be prevented each year.
  • Factors associated with poor health, such as poor access to medical care, unhealthy behaviors, and poor living conditions, are more common among certain economic and racial/ethnic groups.
  • In every racial/ethnic group, poor New Yorkers are the most likely to not have received needed medical care in the past year.
  • Wealthy New Yorkers are about twice as likely to exercise as poor New Yorkers.
  • 94% of elevated blood lead cases in children in New York City are among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.
  • Eliminating health disparities in New York City would save thousands of lives each year.

Primary Toolkit:

Health Equity and Social Justice Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Environmental Justice, Health Equity, Social Justice


Institutional Author:

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene





Five most recent user comments

5 Stars of 5 - Extremely Useful
Health Disparities by Income, Race/Ethnicity and N
By Thomas Schlenker
This lengthy report from 2004 covers a range of well-selected measures of health and how they differ by income, race/ethnicity and neighborhood and how they have changed over time.  It is a beautifully put together bookelet that makes the public health of a complex and dynamic city understandable. Bad news: poor people, Blacks and Puerto Ricans are less healthy.  Good news: substantial improvements have been obtained in infant mortality and hospital admission rates for asthma especially in poor neighborhoods.  Surprising news: childhood obesity and missed school days because of "feeling unsafe" is greatest among Hispanics.  White teenagers smoke more that other racial/ethnic groups and White girls smoke more than White boys.  Very useful, action-oriented data presented in innovative ways.  I especially like the "tale of two neighborhoods" sidebars and the many graphs with titles that told me what I was looking at: "Black New Yorkers die from colon cancer at younger aes than White New Yorkers" and "Health coverage improves but does not guarantee preventive services."  The brief conclusion to the report hits the bullseye.

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