Life expectancy on the rise

Kids may not grow up to make more money than their parents, but according to the latest stats from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, they might very well live longer than their moms and dads.

New Yorkers born in 2007 on average are on course to attain the ripe old age of almost 80, or 79.4 years old, to be more exact, health officials say.

Life expectancy isn’t broken down by borough — that number is too small a sampling to be valid, according to officials. But if you live within the confines of New York City, your chances of keeping the grim reaper at bay have gotten demonstrably better — at least statistically.

According to the latest figures contained in the City of New York Summary of Vital Statistics for 2008, available online at nyc.gov/health, the citywide death rate was 6.5 deaths per 1,000 people in 2008. That’s nearly 20 percent lower than the national death rate of 8.1 per 1,000 in 2006 — the most recent year on record.

Among the sexes, life expectancy for Brooklynites and their fellow New Yorkers breaks down to 82 years for women and 76.3 years for men — again exceeding the national average.

While HIV and drug related deaths fell 4 and 16 percent respectively, and cardiovascular disease claimed 284 fewer lives citywide, the biggest killers in the city remain heart disease and cancer.

According to the stats,21,192 people succumbed to heart disease, and another 13,047 died from cancer in 2008.

Major cardiovascular diseases killed 7,717 people in Brooklyn. Malignant neoplasms took another3,443 lives.

The biggest cancer killers in Brooklyn in 2008 were those associated with the respiratory system, claiming the lives of 768 people. Cancers of the colon, rectum and anus killed 428 people, while breast cancer killed another 306 Brooklynites.

Heart disease struck Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island the hardest, killing a total of 1,455 people there.

Sheepshead Bay was also not a good place to be for those battling cancer. According to the stats, 301 Sheepshead Bay residents lost their battle with the dreaded disease in 2008. Only Bensonhurst had more cancer deaths with 306.

Sheepshead Bay’s overall death toll was also more than any other community in Brooklyn, standing at 1,292 souls.

It should also be noted, however, that Sheepshead Bay, as well as Bensonhurst, are among the most populous communities in Brooklyn.

In all, the borough lost 15,790 people in 2008. Of that number, 14,931 were attributed to“natural causes.”

The latest figures represent the longest life expectancy ever recorded in New York City.

Since 2001, the average live expectancy has increased by 19 months.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg touted the latest figures.

“Helping people live longer, better lives is the core responsibility of government, which is why nearly every initiative we take on is focused on that goal,” the mayor said. “The steady, continued increase in life expectancy demonstrates the remarkable progress we have made and the need to continue to press forward with bold health policies.