500 Cities Project: Local Data for Better Health

Map of AmericaIn order to plan and implement activities to improve the health of city residents around the United States, small area health data are needed to identify emerging health problems, and establish and track health objectives. Limited health data are available at the county and metropolitan levels across the nation, but no data have been made available on a large scale for cities and small areas within cities. 

To help address this issue, the CDC Foundation announced a new partnership today with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to release a first-of-its-kind data analysis for the 500 largest American cities, and the census tracts within cities, to identify, analyze and report data for a select number of chronic disease measures.

The surveillance measures developed through this project will enable public health professionals, city officials, policymakers and researchers to retrieve and explore uniformly defined city-and census tract-level data for the largest 500 American cities. This data will focus on conditions, behaviors and risk factors that have a substantial impact on public health.

An exciting component of this project is that the data will be made available through a public, interactive website that will allow users to view, explore and download city-and tract-level data. The website is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2017. 

We appreciate the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and expertise of CDC being brought to bear on this project, and we are excited about the potential for this project to improve the health of Americans across the country.

Sekou Sidibe, MPH, is a senior program officer for the CDC Foundation.