While progress has been made in reducing health disparities in New York City, substantial inequalities remain among New Yorkers of different economic and racial/ethnic groups. Poor New Yorkers, as well as African American and Latino New Yorkers, bear a disproportionate burden of illness and premature death. The poorest New Yorkers are four times more likely to report poor overall health than the wealthiest.
The rate of new HIV diagnoses is about six times as high among Blacks as among Whites. Latino New Yorkers are more than twice as likely to have diabetes as White New Yorkers. Disparities in diabetes are widening: From 1999–2001, Black New Yorkers were about three times as likely to die from diabetes as Whites. It is also clear that poor health is concentrated in certain New York City neighborhoods. In 2001, the life expectancy in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods was 8 years shorter than in its wealthiest neighborhoods.
Factors associated with poor health, such as poor access to medical care, unhealthy behaviors, and poor living conditions, are more common among certain economic and racial/ethnic groups. In every racial/ethnic group, poor New Yorkers are the most likely to not have received needed medical care in the past year (i.e. wealthy New Yorkers are about twice as likely to exercise as poor New Yorkers.
State Senator Efrain Gonzalez champions the cause of better health care for Blacks and Latinos.