The state of healthcare within the United States has certainly paved the way for a higher life expectancy. However, it can still vary from state to state and even city to city. So, what is the life expectancy of New Yorkers? According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Yorkers are third among those with a high life expectancy in the country. At the same time, those born in the South are lagging far behind.
Life Expectancy of Americans
On average, Americans have a life expectancy of 78.7 years. However, the lowest was recorded in West Virginia, where people live an average life of 74.4 years. Only next in line is Mississippi, with an average life expectancy of 74.6 years, and Alabama, with 75.1 years. Only a few years ahead is Missouri, where the average life expectancy is 76.6 years.
Why is Life Expectancy Low In the Southern States?
Researchers believe gender demographics to be the key reason behind the low life expectancy in the Southern states. Keeping a few exceptions in mind, the states with the most notable sex differences are the ones with lower life expectancy at birth. On the other hand, the states with the smallest sex differences have a higher life expectancy, as per the study published in the NVSR (National Vital Statistics Reports).
Interestingly, women have a higher life expectancy than men in Washington, D.C., and every single state in the country. This wide gap is also associated with smoking, as per the views of Dr. Elizabeth Arias, Director of the U.S. Life Tables at NCHS.
Since males take up the habit of smoking earlier than most females, they’re also more likely to die earlier. However, over the decades, this pattern, too, has changed, with females coming close to the levels that men smoke. Unfortunately, the life expectancy declined further between 2018 and 2019 in about 14 states, ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 years.
What Is the Life Expectancy of New Yorkers?
Even though New Yorkers are among those with a high life expectancy across the country, they have witnessed a sharp decline in the area over the last few years.
According to the latest data released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), New York experienced an unfortunate but expected drop in life expectancy for its residents in the year 2020.
It dropped by an astounding figure of 3% from an average expectancy of 80.7 years in 2019 to 77.7 years in 2020. The decline was rather sudden and also the sharpest between the years among all 50 states. One of the biggest reasons behind the sudden decline of life expectancy in New York and the rest of the states was the sudden impact of COVID-19. While a decline of one year was already anticipated, the 3-year drop in life expectancy was nothing short of drastic.
Furthermore, New York was also hit earliest and the hardest by the pandemic, according to Patrick Kachur, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
United States: Life Expectancy in 2021
At birth, life expectancy in the U.S. went down almost a year from 2020 to 2021. The decline brought the average life expectancy from 77 to 76.1 years, taking the statistics to their lowest since the year 1996. The 1.8-year decline in 2020, followed by the 0.9-year decline in 2021, was the greatest two-year decline since the one observed in the period between 1921 and 1923.
However, it’s important to note that the population that witnessed a huge chunk of this decline was the non-Hispanic population, according to the Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for the year 2021. With a decline of more than 1.9 years in one year, the non-Hispanic population suffered a total loss of over six years from 2019 to 2021.
Key Reasons Behind the Falling Life Expectancy
Some of the biggest reasons behind the falling years of life are COVID-19, accidental injuries, and drug overdoses. However, many other problems are also on the rise, such as suicides and liver and heart disease. At the same time, there’s also a significant decrease in deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, influenza, pneumonia, and chronic lung disease in the region.
This brings us to an important conclusion about life expectancy estimates. While they represent the average years of life based on thousands of people, they aren’t accurate for all populations. They can only be accurate for the populations they represent. Each individual can be subjected to various environmental and health-related factors. Hence, we cannot disregard the role played by genes, disease, and overall health habits.
Why Was the State of New York Hit the Hardest?
Unfortunately, if you were to ask the question, “what is the life expectancy of New Yorkers?” the answer won’t be the same as it was two to three years ago. Even though life expectancy declined all over the country due to the pandemic, New York State was hit the hardest, followed by a steep decline in the average life expectancy by almost three years. The trend isn’t only expected to have long-lasting social effects but also economic effects, which is why lawmakers and advocates call for a policy change to reverse the damage.
Even within the State of New York, disparities were observed in terms of which population suffered the most and which suffered the least. Communities of color and low-income communities were inevitably hit the hardest due to structural inequalities that have existed for decades, if not centuries.
Experts believe that if the trend isn’t reversed soon, it may unleash serious economic impacts in the next decade. In fact, if the loss isn’t studied carefully and reversed in time, it may cost the economy up to $1.6 billion. Among the most affected areas is State Sen. Gustavo Rivera’s district in the Bronx, which has undergone rather disproportionate damage by the pandemic.
There are significant inequities instilled in the healthcare system related to poverty and race that prevent certain populations from getting access to the right facilities. Furthermore, a mix of factors, along with the pandemic, has played a role in triggering these inequalities and causing more damage.
The opioid epidemic was also on the rise in New York at the same time as COVID-19, which caused a spike in deaths related to overdose in the last two years. Hence, improving access to quality health care by looking into data-driven policies can do wonders to expedite the process of fixing the problem.
How to Increase Life expectancy
There’s enough research to show that people who stay active tend to outlive those who don’t. In fact, according to a study in 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10% of all American deaths are due to a lack of exercise.
While it is among the leading causes of death, researchers haven’t been able to conclude how much movement is associated with living a longer life. The impact of overdoing exercise is also unclear, as it may contribute to a shorter life.
Nonetheless, on average, it is important to take at least 7000 steps a day or stay active by playing sports like swimming, cycling, tennis, etc.
Researchers from Harvard also found that certain habits can add more than a decade to an individual’s life expectancy in the U.S. Some of them include exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining healthy body weight, not smoking, and not drinking too much alcohol.
Researchers also found that Americans live shorter life compared to other high-income countries. In 2015, the U.S. ranked 31st in the world in terms of life expectancy, and it was precisely what led to many studies in the field.
So, what is the life expectancy of New Yorkers? Now that we have the answer to the question, it’s imperative to look into the factors that have contributed to a drastic decline in life expectancy statistics over the years.
One of the biggest reasons behind this decline in New York and the remaining states was the sudden COVID-19 onset that crashed the healthcare system throughout the country. However, it wasn’t the only factor that contributed to it. Drug overdoses and accidental injuries were also leading contributors to these poor statistics.
As one of the highest-income countries in the world, the sudden decline in life expectancy wasn’t entirely surprising. Over the years, New York and the rest of the country have also witnessed a stark increase in other health-related issues in the masses, with obesity triggering most people’s concerns.
Hence, researchers have reiterated the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle time and again. As per those from Harvard, life expectancy numbers can be increased by incorporating better habits in our lives. Adequate movement, good nutrition, and giving up habits like excessive smoking and alcohol consumption can certainly lead to a positive trend in the current life expectancy statistics.