So, why is New York doing so well, and how can other U.S. cities get their residents’ longevities up to speed?
According to the British medical journal The Lancet, most gains made during the 1990s aren’t replicable elsewhere. The city ramped up its life expectancy by reining in homicide rates and HIV/AIDS-related mortality, both of which had weighed down the average at the beginning of the decade.
However, gains made after 2000 reflect true improvements in individual health. Mirroring the national average, some 87 percent of deaths in the Big Apple result from noncommunicable diseases — preventable ailments such as heart disease and lung cancer — but the number of yearly deaths from those causes is steadily falling. The IHME researchers determined that more than 60 percent of the increase in New Yorkers’ life expectancy since 2000 can be attributed to reductions in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.