NEW YORK, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- People living in New York City on average live more than one year longer than those who live in the rest of the country, health department officials say.
"New Yorkers are living longer, healthier lives than ever before," Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City health commissioner says in a statement. "This report gives us much to be proud of. But it also highlights continuing challenges. Thirty percent of last year's deaths occurred in people younger than 65, many of which could have been prevented."
New York City's death rate -- average life expectancy of 79.4 years -- and infant mortality rate fell to all-time lows in 2009. Nearly 6,800 fewer New Yorkers died in 2009 than in 2002, although the population was larger in 2009, New York City's Annual Summary of Vital Statistics said.
Two of the city's three leading causes of death -- heart disease, influenza and pneumonia -- claimed fewer lives in 2009 than in 2008, as did all five leading causes of premature death.
The city's infant mortality rate reached an all-time low of 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, the report said.
The number of smokers in New York City is down by 350,000 since 2002. Approximately 7,200 deaths in the city were attributable to smoking last year -- 400 fewer than in 2008 and 1,500 fewer than in 2002, the report said.