Drinking, Chlamydia, Colonoscopies: New Web Portal Tells on New Yorkers

Death rate by community district. Map courtesy of NYC.

Death rate by community district. Map courtesy of NYC.

By Mary Frost and David Brand

There are 2,333,054 people living in Queens. About 8 percent are between ages 15 and 24 — the largest age group in the borough.

The borough really is exceptionally diverse, with no individual racial or ethnic group accounting for more than 28 percent of the population: Latinos make up 28 percent of the population, Asian or Pacific Islanders make up 25 percent and white people make up 25 percent, black people make up 17 percent and all other races account for 5 percent.

More than half — 56 percent — speak a language other than English at home.

All these statistics are part of a new web portal called data2gohealth — which dives into city, state and census databases to shine a spotlight on a neighborhood’s health.

The website reports on more than 300 indicators, including demographics like race and age; behaviors including lack of exercise; and health facts like rates of different cancers, diabetes, injuries due to violence and leading causes of death. It also describes an area’s hospitals, insurance coverage and neighborhood services.

Users can type in an address or click on a map to get statistics accompanied by easy to read graphs.

Data2gohealth, which went live on Nov. 15, serves three main users, said Rebecca Gluskin, Ph.D., deputy director and chief statistician for Measure of America.

“One, local and community care providers with specific needs; two, health advocates and non-profits applying for grants; and three, curious people living in the city and looking at disparities, like activists and citizens,” said Gluskin.

The portal, created by Measure of America and funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, also provide insights for locals curious about their neighbor’s health.

The data gets to the granular level.

There are 5,211 veterans living in Community District 7 of a total 46,597 in Queens about 64 percent of residents over 50 have had a colonoscopy — below average — while 29 percent have had no exercise in the past 30 days — also below average; 24 percent of Queens residents say they have not exercised in the past 30 days.

The visual data also illustrates wealth disparities and markers of poverty.

About 63 percent of people in Community District 7 have a high housing burden, 12 percent have no air conditioning in their homes and 9 percent of homes have mold.

Gluskin, a statistician said several statistics stand out.

“What surprises me is the high rates of chlamydia all over the city. It’s really gone up,” she said. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection.

Gluskin was also surprised by the fact that binge drinking “is high in wealthier neighborhoods.”

The portal covers the city’s 59 community districts or 42 United Hospital Fund areas, 188 neighborhood tabulation areas and 2,166 census tracts, and uses the smallest area available in its datasets.