Nicole Gelinas’ recent piece in CityLab is a good reminder that — despite all of the debates around COVID-19 and urban density — New York City is actually a really healthy place to live. Part of this obviously has to do with the city’s investments in public health. But the biggest factor, Nicole argues, is the city’s transit network. Six million people move around New York City each day without a car. That translates into a meaningfully lower traffic fatality rate. New York State’s rate is about 4.8 per 100,000, whereas Florida’s is 14.7 deaths per 100,000. Taking transit (and having an urban morphology that supports taking transit) also brings along with it other benefits, such as increased walking. And I have to believe that is an important factor. The obesity rate in New York City is thought to be about 22%, compared to a shocking 42% for the country. All of this rolls up into a life expectancy of about 81.2 years for New Yorkers, as of 2017. This is compared to 78.6 years for the US as a whole.
For more on the health of New Yorkers, check out this 2017 Summary of Vital Statistics. (It’s the source of the above chart.)