Local Data for Better Health


Americans face many health-related challenges, including chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes and negative health behaviors, such as insufficient physical activity.  However, data to effectively address the type of health challenges facing cities and neighborhoods have been limited.


  • Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis—are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems.
  • Knowing where a community thrives or suffers is essential to addressing poor health and efficiently utilizing resources to ensure everyone has the opportunity to lead healthy lives. 


Gain neighborhood health data for 500 largest cities

  • Users of a new, interactive web application can view and explore city-and neighborhood-level health data for America’s 500 largest cities.
  • The application is part of the 500 Cities Project, a partnership with CDC, the CDC Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Improve local decision-making for better health

  • The project identifies, analyzes and reports data on 27 chronic disease measures focusing on conditions, behaviors and risk factors that have a substantial effect on people’s health. It represents a first-of-its-kind effort to provide city- and neighborhood-level health estimates for a large proportion of the nation’s population. 
  • The new web application enables public health professionals, policymakers and researchers to see and use the data to effectively address and target interventions to specific areas where they are most needed. The interactive mapping application enables users to zoom in to their neighborhood and look at local data compared with data for the entire city. 

500 Cities


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.

Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH, MBA
Vice President, Program
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


About  50% of all adults have one or more chronic health conditions.

7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases.

Two of these chronic diseases, heart disease and cancer, together accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths.

52% of adults did not meet recommendations for aerobic exercise or physical activity in 2011.