Life expectancy is one and a half years longer for a New Yorker than the for the average American, according to Edward Glaesar of the New York Times. Glaesar, a professor of economics at Harvard, claims that these recent gains in life expectancy for residents of NYC are a part of a long-term trend, starting from its unhealthy conditions in 1901, when life expectancy was seven years lower than the rest of the country.
Glaesar explains that New York has a lower motality rate for young people:
About 81 of every 100,000 New Yorkers aged 25 to 34 died in 2006, as opposed 106 out of every 100,000 in the nation. Accidents and suicides are the two leading causes of death for these younger people. The suicide rate in New York City among this younger group is substantially less than the rate in the nation as a whole. Ten years ago, David Cutler, Karen Norberg and I studied youth suicides. We noted the tendency of suicide rates to be highest in low-density areas, which may be explained by the strong relationship between suicide and gun ownership, as measured by hunting licenses per capita.
The gap in accidents between city and country is even larger. New Yorkers between 25 and 34 are more than 75 percent less likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than their counterparts nationwide. Driving drunk is far more deadly than taking the bus while tipsy.
Yet it also appears that mortality rates are lower for middle-aged New Yorkers, but Glaesar admits there is no obvious explanation: “The health of New York City’s older cohorts remains something of a mystery, but there is no doubt that the city is no longer a place marked by death and disease. Not only are big cities places of remarkable economic productivity and cultural vitality, but they are also healthy places to live.”