CDC Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Launch 500 Cities Project

The CDC Foundation is partnering 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.

“Having data at the city and neighborhood level on heart disease, diabetes, nutrition and physical activity will be invaluable to local policymakers as they plan and implement activities to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents,” said Wayne H. Giles, M.D., M.S., director of the Division of Population Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at CDC.  

Limited health data are available at the county and metropolitan levels across the nation, but until now no data have been made available on a large scale for cities and small areas within cities.  The 500 Cities Project will help inform the development and implementation of effective and targeted public health prevention activities in many of America’s cities. Small area health data are also needed to identify emerging health problems, and establish and track health objectives. This 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. 

“Providing the best available data to public health officials and other community leaders will help them develop solutions to some of the most pressing health challenges our nation faces, and give everyone the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives,” said Donald Schwarz, M.D., M.P.H. M.B.A., vice president, Program, at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"This readily available data to inform prevention of chronic disease has the potential to improve the lives of Americans across the country," said Dr. Judith Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "We are thrilled to be a part of this work."

The surveillance measures developed through this project will enable public health professionals, city officials, policymakers and researchers to retrieve and explore uniform 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.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at