New Report Identifies Areas Most Vulnerable to Measles as New Law Banning Religious Exemptions Takes Effect 

Report identifies 90 schools where all children are unvaccinated against measles

July 23, 2019, New York City—An analysis released today from the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) has identified key areas where a new law ending religious exemptions for measles vaccinations may have the highest impact, including 90 schools where no child has been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease. 

New York has become the epicenter of the outbreak with more than 1,000 cases recorded since September—the highest number since 1992. 

The report, which analyzed publicly available data from every county outside New York City found that the highest numbers of students using religious exemptions were in Suffolk (2,778), Nassau (1,604) and Rockland (1,663). The counties with the fewest exemptions were Hamilton and Schoharie, each with 10 or fewer students. In more than 90 private schools in 12 counties throughout the State, 100% of students had religious exemptions. 

The report was not able to include data from NYC because the city does not make the data publicly available. 

The report uses interactive maps to show how many students in each county outside of New York City used these exemptions during the 2017–18 school year. There is also a searchable, sortable table showing the percentage of exemptions by school.

“Our report reveals the areas of the State most vulnerable to a measles outbreak,” said David Sandman, President and CEO of the New York Health Foundation. “As we look to the new school year, this analysis reveals where the new law might have its biggest impact.”  

To lower the number of disease-susceptible children, New York State passed legislation last month ending the religious exemption from immunizations required for children to attend school. The first suit challenging the law was filed earlier this month, and additional legal challenges are expected.

View the brief and explore the interactive maps and table at

The New York Health Foundation is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners. Find NYHealth online at and on Twitter at @NYHFoundation.


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