New York State Department of Health Announces Release of Updated Dashboards Featuring 2020 Vital Statistics Data for New York State, Highlighting Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the Impacts of COVID-19, the Department is Making Significant Progress Toward Prevention Agenda Initiatives

Updates to Leading Causes of Death and Prevention Agenda Dashboards Here , and Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 7,2023) – The New York State Department of Health has updated several data dashboards with the release of 2020 Vital Statistics data, which highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for preparedness for future health threats.

"In 2020, we did not have a vaccine or treatment to combat the pandemic. We lost too many of our friends, family and loved ones from this tragic pandemic," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said."The data reveals the impact of the pandemic across the state and provides valuable information for the Department as we continue to ensure health equity remains the core of everything we do. The Department continues its work and strategic partnerships as we endeavor to eliminate health disparities."

2020 data now available on the following Department dashboards:

Analyses of Vital Statistics data on the Leading Causes of Death Dashboard reveal the changes in mortality and life expectancy for New Yorkers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the prior decade, the age-adjusted death rate in New York State had been declining. In 2019 there were nearly 157,000 deaths in New York State. In 2020, the number of deaths increased by nearly 47,000 to 203,393. From 2019 to 2020, the age-adjusted death rate increased by 30.4% in New York State, by 53.9% in New York City, and by 18% in New York State, excluding New York City. Combined, this loss of life has resulted in the largest decline in estimated life expectancy for New Yorkers in decades, with age-specific estimates ranging from 1.6-3.4 years reduced life expectancy from 2019 to 2020.

These outcomes also reflect ongoing health disparities among underserved populations. Overall, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death in New York in 2020, behind heart disease, and was the underlying cause for more than 36,000 deaths. However, it was the number one leading cause of death among Hispanic populations and non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander populations, the number two cause of death for non-Hispanic Black populations, and it was the third leading cause of death for non-Hispanic White populations. The differential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across populations emphasizes the importance of addressing inequities that lead to poor health outcomes.

The Department also continues to track and monitor overall progress on the 2019-2024 Prevention Agenda. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated poor health conditions and disparities, demonstrating that more must be done to curb overdose deaths involving opioids, to prevent mental and other substance use disorders, to reduce the number of New York adults with obesity, to prevent communicable diseases, and to promote overall well-being. However, despite the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on morbidity and mortality among New York State residents, progress was made toward many of the 2024 Prevention Agenda's 99 health indicators.

The following is based on the most recent data available statewide:

29.3% of the 2024 objectives are currently being met. For example:

  • The percentage of adults in low-income households (annual household income less than $25,000) who consume one or more sugary drinks per day (27.5% in 2021, below the 2024 target of 28.5%).
  • The percentage of high school age students who smoke cigarettes (2.4% in 2020 compared to 2024 target of 3.3%).
  • The percentage of adults aged 50-64 who received a colorectal cancer screening (71.8% in 2020 compared to 2024 target of 66.3%).
  • The percentage of adults who reported binge drinking in the past month (16.0% in 2021 compared to 2024 target of 16.4%).
  • The age-adjusted rate of patients who received at least one buprenorphine prescription for opioid use disorder, per 100,000 population (427.0 in 2021 compared to 2024 target of 415.6).
  • Opioid analgesic prescriptions, age-adjusted rate per 1,000 residents (261.6 in 2021 compared to 2024 target of 350.0).

An additional 18.2% of the objectives have not yet been met but are improving. For example:

  • The age-adjusted percentage of adults who have a regular health care provider (85.0% in 2021 compared to 78.3% in 2020; 2024 target is 86.7%).
  • The percentage of smokers enrolled in Medicaid who use smoking cessation benefits (21.3% in 2021 compared to 19.9% in 2020; 2024 target is 26.2).
  • The suicide mortality rate per 100,000 adolescences aged 15-19 years (5.6 in 2018-2020 compared to 6.2 in 2017-2019; 2024 target is 4.7).

The latest data show that for 32.3% of the indicators have neither improved nor worsened, and 19.2% of indicators have worsened. For example, ground has been lost on:

  • The percentage of adults with obesity (29.1% in 2021 compared to 26.3% in 2020; 2024 target is 24.2%).
  • The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths involving any opioids, per 100,000 population (21.2 in 2020 compared to 14.9 in 2019; 2024 target is 14.3).
  • The percentage of children who are fully immunized by their second birthday (63.8% in 2021 compared to 66.1% in 2020; 2024 target is 70.5%).

The Department continues to strengthen preparedness initiatives to better prepare for and respond to public health threats. In February, the Department launched a new campaign to encourage New Yorkers with underlying medical conditions to stay up to date with COVID-19 bivalent boosters. The Department also continues to provide information on ongoing and emerging COVID-19 variants.

The expansion of New York's wastewater surveillance program has further bolstered the State's preparedness to combat the spread of infectious diseases, including influenza A, RSV, hepatitis A, norovirus, and antimicrobial-resistant organisms. This nation-leading early detection program is already serving as an important indicator of disease burden within an area at any given time.

In February, Governor Hochul announced more than $8.6 million for innovative programs to treat opioid addiction to increase access to medication to address opioid use disorder in New York. The Department's latest multi-media "Safer Choices" harm reduction campaign aims to prevent overdose deaths by equipping individuals with the education and tools they need to understand how to reduce overdoses.