New state data reveals a dramatic increase in New York’s death rate during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 30% spike as the state experienced its most significant decline in life expectancy in decades.
In areas of New York outside of the city, the age-adjusted death rate rose by 18%. However, New York City, which was an early epicenter of the global pandemic, saw an even more staggering increase in its death rate, with a 54% jump from 2019 to 2020. The state Department of Health’s analysis indicates that nearly 204,000 deaths occurred in New York in 2020, a substantial increase of 47,000 from the previous year.
The data highlights that COVID-19 was the second-leading cause of death in the state in 2020, after heart disease, accounting for over 36,000 fatalities. Moreover, the figures provide insight into health inequalities, with COVID-19 identified as the primary cause of death among Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander populations. The virus was also the second-leading cause of death for Black New Yorkers and the third-leading cause for white individuals.
The combined loss of life during this period led to a historically significant decline in life expectancy for New Yorkers, with estimates suggesting a reduction of 1.6 to 3.4 years from 2019 to 2020.
Although President Biden recently signed a bill ending the federal pandemic emergency declaration, COVID-19 continues to claim lives in New York. Federal data show that the virus caused over 400 deaths in March alone, with the overall death toll in the state nearing 80,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.
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