To Live and Die in N.Y. vs. L.A.: The Wild Stats Behind Life, and Death, on Both Coasts

7:00 AM 4/14/2016

by Rebecca Sun

From sidewalk slashings to deadly diseases, top-notch feeder schools to truly epic fender-benders, THR's handy guide to all the freakish and functional trivia to deploy at your next cocktail party on either coast.

N.Y. vs. LA Illustration - H 2016
Illustration by Zohar Lazar

  • Alcohol Intake

    Perhaps because of the ease of public transportation in NYC, New Yorkers drink more than the rest of the U.S., while their L.A. counterparts drink less, according to a University of Washington study. NYC households spend an average of $541 a year on booze, to L.A.’s $478.

  • Time of Average Commute

    Chalk it up to subway snafus (57 percent of New Yorkers take public transit to work) taking longer than traffic tie-ups (68 percent of Angelenos drive). Regardless, New York people, of course, win on walking, as the Big Apple is the No. 1 walk-y city on Walk Score’s rankings (L.A. is No. 21) with an average of 8,245 steps taken daily, per Fitbit.

  • Top Random Deadly Disease

    Los Angeles: Tuberculosis
    New York City: Malaria

    In the past decade, more people died of respiratory tuberculosis in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the U.S. CDC data shows 322 deaths from consumption in L.A. from 2005 to 2014, mostly from a 2013 Skid Row outbreak. Meanwhile, New York City overindexed in malaria mortalities (6.7 times the national average) — though don’t hit the panic button yet. The Big Apple simply had 10 of the 65 nationwide malaria cases (mostly contracted overseas) during the entire decade, hardly the next Ebola virus. NYC’s second most distinctive fatality in that period? HIV, whose 8,825 lives taken amounted to 3½ times the national average.

  • NYers: Less Scared of Commitment ...

    According to Match’s 2016 Singles in America study, Angelenos are 75% more likely to date casually, 55% more likely to fake a crisis to bail on a date and 36% more likely to have sex in public than NYers.

    Maximum ghosting time before getting dropped

    Los Angeles: 12 days
    New York: 7 days

    Number of exes

    Los Angeles: 4.8
    New York: 3.76

    Cost of a date

    Los Angeles: $67.70
    New York: $76

  • ... But They Are More Prone to Contracting STDs

    Across the board, New York reports higher incidence rates of sexually transmitted diseases than Los Angeles. Out of 100,000 people, 707 New Yorkers have chlamydia, compared with 551 Angelenos. NYC sees more cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV than L.A. as well, especially when it comes to the latter disease: 1,422 New Yorkers (out of 100,000) live with HIV/AIDS, compared with 486 residents of Los Angeles county.

  • Shades of Blue: Which City Has More Crime

    While NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton rang in the new year boasting a 1.7 percent dip in overall crime from 2014, their West Coast counterparts found themselves having to explain a 12.6 percent increase from the year before. (LAPD attributed the change primarily to a rise in gang-related and domestic violence assaults.) Taken head-to-head, L.A. has a higher murder rate than New York (seven homicides per 100,000 people versus four) and experiences more robberies and burglaries — in the latter case, nearly twice as many. Perhaps the best qualified individual to compare crime in the cities is Bratton, a former LAPD chief. “The nature of [New York]’s crime problem is drugs and also total disregard for almost 30 years for the enforcement of quality-of-life offenses, the ‘broken windows’ theory,” he said during his California tenure. “[In L.A.], my serious crime problems are very significantly influenced by gangs: routine drive-by shootings, random shootings of people, people wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.”

  • Top 10 Injury-Related Deaths Per City

    Like the rest of the country, New York and Los Angeles residents are most vulnerable to heart disease and cancer — the two leading causes of death, along with other natural causes including strokes, respiratory disease, diabetes, pneumonia and flu. But when it comes to accidents and intentionally inflicted injuries, the cities begin to diverge.

    Los Angeles

    1. Vehicular accident (in vehicle)*
    2. Accidental poisoning/overdose
    3. Homicidal shooting
    4. Accidental falls
    5. Suicide by gun
    6. Suicide by suffocation
    7. Suicide by poisoning/overdose
    8. Accidental drowning
    9. Homicidal stabbing/slashing
    10. Suicide jumps

    *L.A. has the craziest car crashes
    Dying inside a car is the most common way to go, and the exit can be grisly: In February, a street racer plowed into a truck on Interstate 5 in Commerce, sending it flying until it sheared the roof off a Nissan and landed on a Ford Explorer that burst into flames. Three people died. And in October, a driver not wearing a seat belt struck a car on the 5 in Glendale and was ejected through his windshield. Firefighters had to recover his body from a freeway sign high above the road.

    New York

    1. Accidental poisoning/overdose
    2. Accidental falls
    3. Homicidal shooting
    4. Suicide by suffocation
    5. Hit by vehicle (as pedestrian)
    6. Unidentifiable causes
    7. Vehicular accident (in vehicle)
    8. Homicidal stabbing/slashing*
    9. Suicide jumps
    10. Suicide by poisoning/overdose

    *Slashings take the Big Apple
    In response to a 22 percent increase in slashings this year (916 assaults so far), New York police have announced Operation Cutting Edge to curb the alarming trend. Its findings so far: Only 23 of this year’s attacks were random, while domestic violence characterized 277 of the incidents. On the other hand, nearly a quarter of the slashings happened between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday, leading to increased patrols of 20 nightclubs.

  • Life Expectancy, Both Sexes


    - Downtown, Silver Lake, Echo Park: 80.6 years
    - Hollywood, Mid-City Wilshire, West Hollywood: 81.2 years
    - Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Culver City, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice: 83.2 years


    - Battery Park, Tribeca: 85 years
    - Greenwich Village, SoHo: 84 years
    - Chelsea, Clinton: 82 years
    - Upper West Side: 84 years
    - Upper East Side: 85 years
    - Williamsburg, Greenpoint: 80 years
    - Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights: 79 years
    - Park Slope: 80 years

  • Bring on the Purell!

    A 2015 study by Weill Cornell Medical College confirmed what New Yorkers always suspected: The subway is super-gross. Researchers identified 562 bacterial species on the train, with 215 stations hosting microbes associated with food poisoning, 192 housing bugs that bring on UTIs and 66 supporting meningitis and sepsis germs. Angelenos might be spared the terror of the subway pole, but they have their own buggy hotspot: Gas pump handles are particularly germy in general, says a study by University of Arizona microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba, with 71 percent of pumps found to be “highly contaminated” with microbes associated with illness, as opposed to 41 percent of ATM buttons and 43 percent of escalator railings.