City’s Demographic Profile of Lower Manhattan Paints a Mostly Encouraging Portrait
The City’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOH) has compiled a statistical dossier of Lower Manhattan that affords some striking insights into the demographic composition of Downtown. Focusing on Community District 1 (CD1)—a patchwork of neighborhoods encompassing 1.5 square miles, bounded roughly by Canal, Baxter, and Pearl Streets, and the Brooklyn Bridge—the DOH’s Community Health Profile gauges the local population at 57,765 people, among whom the life expectancy is 86.3 years, the fourth highest for any community district in the five boroughs. More than 90 percent of local resident report themselves to be in excellent health.
The two largest ethnic groups in Lower Manhattan are whites (63 percent) and Asians (22 percent), which contrasts with the City as whole, where white residents comprise 32 percent of the population, and Asians are 15 percent.
Viewed through the prism of social and economic conditions, 85 percent of CD1’s population has earned a college degree or more, contrasting with 44 percent for the City as a whole. For local kids, the rate of elementary school absenteeism is six percent (compared to 22 percent citywide), while the share of high school students graduating on time is 98 percent (with 82 percent of all New York City students meeting this benchmark). Only eight percent of Lower Manhattan residents live in poverty, while 18 percent of all City residents do. But 35 percent of the area’s population are rent burdened (meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing), which is lower than the half of all households citywide that fall into this category. The DOH statistics also record zero pregnancies among teenage girls in Lower Manhattan.
Only three percent of Lower Manhattan dwellers are going without health insurance, while seven percent are forgoing needed medical care. (The comparable metrics for New York as a whole are 13 percent for both categories.)
Causes of premature mortality (defined as dying before age 65) for Downtowners include various forms of cancer (60 deaths), heart disease (20), drug use (19), suicide (19), and accidents (10). Each of these rates (adjusted to equivalent numbers among 100,000 residents) is lower than the citywide average, except suicide, where the local rate of 6.7 per 100,000 surpasses the citywide metric of 5.3 per 100,000.
Local prevalance of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension is eight percent, two percent, and 20 percent, respectively, which trails the corresponding measures for the City as a whole, at 17 percent, nine percent, and 22 percent.
The only metric tracked in the DOH study that exceeds citywide averages in a troubling way is binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women on one occasion during the past 30 days. Among Lower Manhattan residents, 27 percent report engaging in this behavior (which correlates to chronic health problems), as opposed to only 18 percent for residents of New York City as a whole.