By Phineas Rueckert
Most Queens residents live longer than the national average, according to health statistics recently published by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
All but one community district in Queens had a life expectancy above 78.7 years — the nationwide average — according to the DOHMH’s 2018 Community Health Profiles, with Elmhurst and Corona (85.6 years) narrowly edging out Woodside and Sunnyside (85.4 years) for the title of longest-living neighborhood in the borough.
New Yorkers, on average, live 81.2 years, but as the Brooklyn Eagle has reported, this number can vary significantly even within individual boroughs. Overall, Manhattan had the highest life expectancy (84.7 years), while the Bronx had the lowest (80.9 years).
Despite having the city’s best air quality, Rockaway and Broad Channel had the borough’s lowest life expectancy, at 76.5 years. In those communities, residents live, on average, four years fewer than those in the next lowest district, Jamaica and Hollis, and nearly ten years fewer than Elmhurst and Corona residents.
New York began collecting community health statistics in 2000 — and has subsequently published four more community health reports, in 2003, 2006, 2015 and again this year. The publicly-available data categorizes more than 50 indicators, including everything from bike lane coverage to non-fatal assault hospitalizations and infant mortality rates.
The data paint a picture of the overall health and well-being of New York’s 59 community districts.
As a borough, Queens had the lowest rate of elementary school absenteeism and the highest high school graduation rate. It also had the lowest incarceration rate and number of psychiatric hospitalizations, but the highest uninsured rate in the city (15 percent).
While the study categorized typical health indicators like vaccination rates, it also included more particular, and in some cases New York specific, data. Jackson Heights, for example, had the borough’s highest ratio of bodegas to supermarkets (17:1). In Elmhurst and Corona, one in three households reported having cockroaches, according to the latest statistics. And in Long Island City and Astoria, one in four people reported having binge drank in the past 30 days — the highest in Queens.
For Queens, an aging population — despite indicating better health — also poses challenges in a city where housing and other resources are at a premium.
According to the Community Health Profiles, 14 percent of Queens residents were 65 years or older — roughly on par with other boroughs.
Here’s how the rest of the borough compares in terms of average life expectancy:
Elmhurst and Corona: 85.6 (above average)
Woodside and Sunnyside: 85.4 (above average)
Jackson Heights: 84.7 (above average)
Bayside and Little Neck: 84.7 (above average)
Rego Park and Forest Hills: 84.4 (above average)
Flushing and Whitestone: 84.3 (above average)
Hillcrest and Fresh Meadows: 83.9 (above average)
Long Island City and Astoria: 83.4 (above average)
Kew Gardens and Woodhaven: 82.9 (above average)
Queens Village: 82.9 (above average)
South Ozone Park and Howard Beach: 81.7 (above average)
Ridgewood and Maspeth: 81.4 (above average)
Jamaica and Hollis: 80.5 (below average)
Rockaway and Broad Channel: 76.5 (below average)