CITY HALL — Chicagoans born today can expect to live to almost 78 years old, a record high, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Public Health.
The report's data show that life expectancy citywide increased by 7.3 years to 77.8 from 1990 to 2010.
"These numbers are further proof that Chicago is moving in the right direction," Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair said. "Today, we are living longer and healthier than at any point in our entire history."
The report said gains were made by both sexes, among all three major ethnic groups and in all neighborhoods over the two decades.
Hispanics have the highest life expectancy at 84.7 years. Whites have a life expectancy of 79.2 years and African-Americans of 72.4 years. African-Americans, however, made the biggest gain over the two decades, 6.5 years, while whites gained 5.9 and Hispanics 2.1.
According to the report, African-Americans cut the difference in their lower life expectancy measured against other ethnic groups by 10 percent.
The neighborhoods with the highest life expectancy are the Near North Side, the Loop, North Park, Forest Glen and Hyde Park — all above 82 years. Those that made the most significant gains are the Near South Side, Grand Boulevard, the Near West Side, Oakland and Kenwood — all of which produced increases between 12 and 21 years.
The report credited gains in infant mortality, especially problematic among African-Americans two decades ago, and in the treatment of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases such as diabetes. HIV mortality was also reduced, as was the homicide rate, which produced gains across the board, but especially for African-American men.
The report said the difference in average lifespan for African-Americans attributed to "perinatal conditions" was cut by 50 percent.
The average U.S. life expectancy in 2010 was 78.7, meaning Chicago had moved to within a year of the national average. In 1990, Chicago's life expectancy was 70.5 years compared with the U.S. average of 75.4, meaning Chicago is on a trend to move ahead of the national average in the near future.
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