In its annual Summary of Vital Statistics, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced that the City’s death rate reached an historic low of 7.2 per 1,000 in 2004. The lower rate is attributed to a 14% decrease in the number of heart-related deaths, followed by a 12% decline in the number of deaths caused by AIDS/HIV.

According to an agency press release dated January 5, 2006, the reduction in cardiac deaths reflects an improvement in the quality of medical care. However, heart disease was still the number one cause of death among New Yorkers – accounting for 40% of all deaths in 2004.