By Philip Newman
Queens led New York City in deaths from seven diseases and other lethal causes in the latest statistical health snapshot of the city, but life expectancy in the five boroughs hit a new all-time high.
Life expectancy for New Yorkers has increased to an average of 79.4 years, a gain of almost five months since 2006.
It is all in exhaustive statistical detail in the city Health Department’s annual report on vital statistics, “The Conquest of Pestilence in New York City” for 2008, the most recent year for which such data is available.
Queens was No. 1 in the city for deaths from cancer of the kidney and central nervous system, cardiomyopathy, emphysema, pregnancy, childbirth, puerperion and complications frommedical and surgical care.
For the first time since 1999, deaths did not decline in the city, rising to 54,193 from 54,073 in 2007.
In Queens, deaths declined from accidental falls, suicide, mesotheloma, anemia, gall bladder diseases, influenza and pneumonia.
In announcing the statistics, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the new record on life expectancy means 76.3 years for men and 82 for women born in 2008, exceeding national averages.
“Too many New Yorkers are still dying from preventable causes,” Farley said. “New Yorkers can combat the leading causes of premature death by quitting smoking, being more active, maintaining heart-healthy diets, controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol, using condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and living free of alcohol and drug dependence.”
The report said alcohol deaths remain high and “teenage pregnancy is still too common.”
Deaths from drug-related causes fell from 849 to 739 in 2008, but accidental drug overdose remains one of the leading causes of premature death for adult New Yorkers,” Farley said.
Farley said the 4 percent decline in deaths from HIV probably reflects several factors, including a lower infection rate among injecting drug users.
The top five causes of death throughout the city were heart disease, cancer, influenza/pneumonia, diabetes and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
Other 2008 statistics include:
1. A total of 44.6 percent of Queens women who gave birth were unmarried. In the Bronx, it was 70.6 percent, in Brooklyn 42.3 percent, in Manhattan 35.6 percent and in Staten Island 34 percent.
2. In Queens, 70 percent of births were to foreign-born women. In Brooklyn, it was 43.7 percent, in the Bronx 49.1 percent, in Manhattan 43.7 percent and in Staten Island 35.9 percent.
3. In Elmhurst-Corona, 89.4 percent of births were to foreign-born women. Otherwise, it was Sunnyside-Woodside at 77.7 percent, Woodhaven at 72.7 percent, Rego Park-Forest Hills at 70.6 percent, Howard Beach at 67.1 percent and Bayside at 66.6 percent.
4. The city had 89,465 abortions with 17,453 in Queens, 20,250 in the Bronx, 27,715 in Brooklyn, 13,288 in Manhattan and 2,790 in Staten Island.
5. Seven community districts citywide had less than 2 percent of births to teenagers. Bayside was at 1.1 percent, Rego Park-Forest Hills at 1.2 percent, Jamaica-St. Albans had 865 births to teens, Jackson Heights had 717 and Elmhurst-Corona had 577.
The city’s infant mortality rate — the proportion of children who die before their first birthday — stayed near its historic low at 5.5 infant deaths per 1,000 children.
“The citywide infant mortality rate has fallen by 20 percent in the past 10 years, but that figure masks sharp racial and economic disparities. The rate of infant deaths among blacks remained high with 10.2 deaths per 1,000 live births, nearly twice the citywide rate,” the report said.
Ethnically, the highest number of births in Queens were to Mexican women (2,477), Chinese (2,413), African American (2,180) and Ecuadorian (2,050).
The report said the most popular names for New York City baby girls were Sophia, followed by Isabella, Emily, Olivia, Sarah, Madison, Ashley, Mia, Samantha and Emma. For boys, they were Jayden, Daniel, Michael, Matthew, David, Joshua, Justin, Anthony, Christopher, Ethan and Ryan.
The most babies born in Queens — 5,346 — were delivered at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
June brides may be traditional, but that month’s weddings (6,290) trailed August (6,645) and July (6,581).
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 718-260-4536.