The information below includes preliminary data findings that will be updated throughout the Where We Live NYC process and do not represent the City of New York’s final findings or position on the information.
Neighborhoods differ across health-related indicators, such as walkability, access to food, and exposures to pollutants and crime. Similarly, housing deficiencies, such as maintenance defects and exposure to mold, also relate to residents’ physical and mental health1. Because New Yorkers’ health outcomes are connected to access to jobs and housing and their ability to accumulate wealth, health-related exposure risks and outcomes are important components of our fair housing planning process.
The first part of this page highlights how key health-related indicators (often referred to as “social determinants of health”) vary at the neighborhood level and across specific populations. These indicators may provide insight into how residential living patterns generally—and housing segregation specifically2— create or perpetuate disparate health outcomes, which are the subject of the brief’s second part.
Geographic Patterns of Health Risks and Access to Health Care
Below are selected health-related risks that appear to vary by neighborhood.
The areas of New York City with the most air pollution include Midtown and Lower Manhattan, the South Bronx, north Brooklyn, Red Hook, Sunset Park, East New York, and parts of southwest Queens. Air quality is an important contributor to health, and fine particles (PM 2.5), shown on the Exposure to Poor Air Quality map below, are the most harmful urban air pollutants3. These pollutants are emitted by vehicle exhausts, the burning of fuels, power plants, and even indoor sources such as tobacco smoke and cooking4. The map below indicates that air pollution is particularly severe in areas with high rates of traffic, as well as proximity to industry. While the Exposure to PM 2.5 by Race and Ethnicity chart below demonstrates geographic variation in rates of PM 2.5 across New York City, it does not show variation in exposure to PM 2.5 experienced by different racial and ethnic groups.
Exposure to PM 2.5 by Race and Ethnicity, 20165
Surface temperatures are highest in Harlem, the Bronx, north and east Brooklyn, and west and south Queens. High temperatures can put young children and the elderly at risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Neighborhood features, such as green canopy and reflective roofs, can affect surface temperatures differently depending on their relative occurrence. The Summer Surface Temperature map below shows the daytime summer surface temperature index in NYC according to a thermal band image taken in 2009. The darker shades signify higher surface temperatures. While the map shows geographic variation in terms of surface temperature, the Exposure to Summer Surface Temperature by Race and Ethnicity chart below does not show much variation in surface temperature by race or ethnicity.
Exposure to Summer Surface Temperature by Race and Ethnicity, 20096
The north Bronx, south Brooklyn, and parts of Queens have the lowest supermarket square footage per 100 residents. The Supermarket Square Footage by Community District map below shows supermarket square footage per 100 residents. The darker shades on the map demonstrate larger supermarket square footage. There is considerable variation across New York City in access to supermarkets, with core Manhattan, eastern Brooklyn, and central Queens having the largest supermarket square footage per 100 residents. Even within these neighborhoods, however, the types of supermarkets are different. Manhattan is characterized by many small stores in dense areas, while eastern Brooklyn and central Queens have larger stores that might be challenging to access without a car. Therefore, higher square footage rates in eastern Brooklyn and central Queens may not guarantee ease of access.
Lower and Midtown Manhattan have the highest rates of primary care providers per capita, and Hispanic New Yorkers are less likely to have a personal doctor than other racial and ethnic groups. The Doctors per Capita map below shows primary care provider rates per capita by neighborhood tabulation areas. Primary care physician supply has been associated with improved health outcomes7. The outer boroughs have fewer doctors per capita than Manhattan, though residents of the outer boroughs may take advantage of doctors in Manhattan during the workday. There is also considerable variation within each borough, oftentimes caused by the location of hospitals. The Lack of Personal Doctor or Health Care Provider chart below shows the share of New Yorkers without a personal doctor or health care provider by race and ethnicity. Almost seventeen percent of New Yorkers lack a primary care provider. Hispanic New Yorkers are most likely to lack a primary care provider (23.7%), followed by Asian/PI (16.4%), Black (13.5%), and White New Yorkers (13.2%).
Lack of Personal Doctor or Health Care Provider, 20168
Areas with the highest reported crime rates are concentrated in the South Bronx, portions of Harlem, central and east Brooklyn, Midtown Manhattan, and Downtown Brooklyn. The Exposure to Violent Crime by NTA map below shows a measure of the prevalence of certain reported violent felonies—homicides, robberies, and felony assaults—by neighborhood and by number of residents. The areas with the highest reported rates of these crimes include Midtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Norwood to Wakefield in the North Bronx, portions of Harlem, central and east Brooklyn, and smaller areas on the north shore of Staten Island, Coney Island, Queensbridge, Jamaica, and the Rockaways. Midtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn have elevated rates of NYPD complaints that may be due to their high volume of daily visitors9. It is therefore less likely that residents of these areas experience crime to the same degree as residents of other, more residential neighborhoods.
Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have the highest rates of exposure to violent felony crimes near their homes10. Exposure to crime affects the mental health of residents of high-crime neighborhoods11 as well as the level of children’s physical activity12. Average exposures to violent felony crimes by race and ethnicity are presented on the Select Violent Felony Crime Rate Exposure by Race and Ethnicity chart below. On average, New Yorkers are exposed to crime at the rate of 4.2 per 1,000 residents. Black New Yorkers experience the highest exposure to violent crime in the neighborhoods in which they live (6 per 1,000 people), followed by Hispanic (4.2), Asian/PI (3), and White New Yorkers (2.6).
Select Violent Felony Crime Rate Exposure by Race and Ethnicity, 201713
The areas with the highest incarceration rates are concentrated in central and east Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and parts of Queens. Incarceration can have long-term negative health consequences for individuals in the corrections system as well as their families14 and neighbors15. It can also have impacts on the financial resources, social cohesion, and health of neighborhoods. The rates of adults admitted to jails managed by the New York City Department of Corrections are shown by neighborhood of residence on the Jail Incarceration Rate by NTA map below. Areas with particularly high rates of incarceration are clustered in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and central and east Brooklyn, and their residents are disproportionately Black and Hispanic. Smaller areas with high rates of incarceration include parts of the north shore of Staten Island, Coney Island, the Rockaways, and Jamaica.
Disparities in Health Outcomes by Race and Ethnicity
White New Yorkers report the highest rates of satisfaction with their health as compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The Self-Reported Health Status chart below shows self-reported health by race and ethnicity. While 45% of New Yorkers overall consider their health to be either excellent or very good, White New Yorkers report the highest levels of excellent or very good health (60%), above that of Black New Yorkers (47%), Asian/PI New Yorkers (36%) and Hispanic New Yorkers (28%). Since self-reported health is subjective, we examine certain objective health outcomes in the next paragraphs.
Self-Reported Health Status, 201616
Black New Yorkers have the highest rate of premature death. The Premature Death by Race and Ethnicity chart below shows rates of premature death—defined as mortality before the age of 65—by race and ethnicity. The citywide average is 185 premature deaths per 100,000 people. Black New Yorkers experience premature death at the highest rate (273 premature deaths per 100,000 people), above that of White New Yorkers (181), Hispanic New Yorkers (159), and Asian New Yorkers (91).
Premature Death by Race and Ethnicity, 201517
Black New Yorkers have the highest rate of infant mortality. The Infant Mortality by Race and Ethnicity chart below shows infant mortality rates by race and ethnicity. The citywide average is 4 deaths per 1,000 live births. Black New Yorkers have the highest infant mortality rate (8 death per 1,000 live births), above that of Hispanic New Yorkers (3.7), Asians (2.9), and Whites (2.6).
Infant Mortality by Race and Ethnicity, 201618
Black children have the highest rate of asthma. Rates of childhood asthma are shown on the Children with Asthma chart below. This data is based on the rates across racial and ethnic groups at which a doctor tells the parents or caregiver that their child has asthma, as opposed to self-reporting. Black children have the highest rates of asthma (22%), above that of Hispanic children (15%), Asian children (10%) and White children (4%).
Children with Asthma, 201519
- HPD has prepared a separate page that includes information on housing deficiencies. Please see the Housing Conditions tab
- HPD has also prepared a separate page that includes information on neighborhood racial concentration. Please see the Where New Yorkers Live tab.
- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2013), “Air Pollution and the Health of New Yorkers: The Impact of Fine Particles and Ozone,” retrieved October 24, 2018, from: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/eode/eode-air-quality-impact.pdf.
- NYS Department of Health, “Fine Particles (PM 2.5 Questions and Answers),” retrieved October 24, 2018, from: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/pmq_a.htm.
- Sources: HPD tabulations of PM 2.5 rates provided by NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Exposure is constructed as the average census tract PM 2.5 weighted by population.
- Sources: HPD tabulations of Summer Surface Temperatures provided by NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Exposure is constructed as the average census tract summer surface temperature weighted by population.
- Marcinko J, et al. (2007), “Quantifying the health benefits of primary care physician supply in the United States,” International Journal of Health Services 37(1): 111-26, retrieved October 24, 2018, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17436988.
- Respondents who answered “No” to “Do you have one person or more than one person you think of as your personal doctor or health care provider?” Source: NYC Community Health Survey, 2016.
- Using data from 2006-2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the population of Manhattan—including commuters—almost doubles during the workday. Brian McKenzie et al, “Commuter-Adjusted Population Estimates: ACS 2006-10,” retrieved October 24, 2018, from: https://census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2013/acs/2013_McKenzie_02.pdf.
- Unless otherwise specified, Asian/PI, Black, and White populations are considered non-Hispanic. Because the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term “Hispanic” in its population figures, HPD will also use the term with regard to its population analyses. HPD will use the term “Latinx” when relevant. Each of these categories also encompasses significant diversity and a range of national origins, which vary across the city’s neighborhoods. This diversity will be explored in the final report.
- Dustmann C. et al. (2016), “The Effect of Local Area Crime on Mental Health,” The Economic Journal, 126 (1):978–1017, retrieved on October 24, 2018, from: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12205.
- Kneeshaw-Price, S.H. et al. (2015), “Neighborhood Crime-Related Safety and Its Relation to Children’s Physical Activity,” Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 92(3):472-489, retrieved on October 24, 2018, from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11524-015-9949-0.
- Rates per 1,000 people. Sources: HPD tabulations of historic NYPD complaints (Source: NYC Open Data) and U.S. Census Bureau (Source: HUD AFFH-T, Census 2010). Notes: Interpret rates as annual averages. Exposure is constructed as the average neighborhood tabulation area select felony crime rate weighted by population. Select violent felony crimes include valid homicide, robbery, and felony assault complaints reported to the NYPD during calendar year 2017. Due to the approximate location of most complaints, we aggregate complaints to the neighborhood tabulation area level. Rape is excluded due to data limitations.
- Wildeman, Christopher, et al. (2011), “Despair by Association? The Mental Health of Mothers with Children by Recently Incarcerated Fathers,” retrieved on October 24, 2018, from: http://paa2011.princeton.edu/papers/110487.
- Hatzenbuehler, M.L. et al. (2015), “The Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration: Risk of Psychiatric Morbidity Among Nonincarcerated Residents of High-Incarceration Neighborhoods,” American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), 138–143, retrieved on October 24, 2018, from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25393200.
- Age-adjusted rates. Sources: NYC Community Health Survey, 2016.
- Age-Adjusted Death Rate per 100,000 populations. Sources: Bureau of Vital Statistics New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2015: Premature (Age<65) Mortality.
- Age-Adjusted Death Rate per 1,000 live births. Sources: Bureau of Vital Statistics New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2016.
- Parents/caregivers were asked: “Has a doctor or other health care provider ever told you that your child had asthma?” Sources: NYC Community Health Survey, 2015, Asthma (ever).