Rate Falls 15% in 2006

New York City's
overall death rate dropped to an all-time low in 2006 due
in part to declines in mortality from HIV and
smoking-related illness, the health commissioner said

The number of
deaths fell to 55,391 in 2006 from 57,068 a year earlier,
according to the city's Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene. The only leading killer that increased
significantly was substance use, up 8%.

Heart disease and
cancer remained the most deadly, claiming 21,844 and
13,116 lives, respectively.

Between 2005 and
2006, death from HIV fell almost 15%, from 1,419 to
1,209, reflecting the lowest numbers since 1984, when 952
deaths from AIDS were recorded citywide.

attributed the decline to lower infection rates because of
syringe exchange programs, expanded HIV testing, and slower
disease progression.

HIV mortality
remains concentrated among the city's minority populations,
with roughly 34% of deaths among black men; 21% among black
women; 11% among white men; and 3% among white women.

New HIV diagnoses
have recently increased among young men who have sex
with men, but the trend has yet to affect mortality rates.

smoking-related deaths dropped 11.2% between 2002 and 2006,
from 8,722 to 7,744. The figures do not include deaths
from exposure to second-hand smoke.

The report also
showed that life expectancy for women between 2004 and
2005 rose by 2.5 months to 81.3 years, while male life
expectancy remained unchanged at 75.7 years. Overall
life expectancy rose to 78.7 years from 78.6 years.

Tags: Health, Health