Dig Deeper

Health outcomes and factors can differ by age, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, and sexual orientation, among many other characteristics within counties. Variation may also exist between neighborhoods or ZIP codes. Differences for subgroups in health outcomes and factors by demographics or geography can inform community efforts to target resources where they are most needed, helping to improve the community health for all.  

Differences Among Population Groups
Differences by Locale/Neighborhood
  • Does this measure differ across age groups?
  • How does this measure vary among race or ethnicity groups?
  • How does this measure vary across other socioeconomic characteristics?
  • Are there specific ZIP codes, neighborhoods or school districts where the measure indicates a localized problem or opportunity?

Race and ethnicity are different forms of identity but are sometimes categorized in non-exclusive ways. Race is a form of identity constructed by our society to give meaning to different groupings of observable physical traits. An individual may identify with more than one race group. Ethnicity is used to group individuals according to shared cultural elements. Racial and ethnic categorizations relate to health because our society sorts groups of individuals based on perceived identities. These categorizations have meaning because of social and political factors, including systems of power such as racism. Examining the variation among racial and ethnic groupings in health factors and outcomes is key to understanding and addressing historical and current context that underlie these differences. 

Data sources differ in methods for defining and grouping race and ethnicity categories. To incorporate as much information as possible in our summaries, CHR&R race/ethnicity categories vary by data source. With a few exceptions, CHR&R adheres to the following nomenclature originally defined by The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

  • American Indian & Alaska Native (AIAN): includes people who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native and do not identify as Hispanic. 
  • Asian: includes people who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander and do not identify as Hispanic. 
  • Black: includes people who identify as Black or African American and do not identify as Hispanic. 
  • Hispanic: includes people who identify as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, other Hispanic, or Hispanic of unknown origin. 
  • White: includes people who identify as White and do not identify as Hispanic. 

County Health Rankings data disaggregated by race and ethnicity are available for the following measures: 

Ranked Measures

  • Premature death
  • Low birthweight
  • Teen births
  • Preventable hospital stays
  • Mammography screening
  • Flu vaccinations
  • Children in poverty
  • Injury deaths
  • Driving alone to work

Additional Measures

  • Infant mortality
  • Child mortality
  • Premature age-adjusted mortality
  • Life expectancy
  • Median household income
  • Suicides
  • Homicides
  • Firearm fatalities
  • Drug overdose deaths
  • Motor vehicle crash deaths
  • Reading scores
  • Math scores

More detailed subgroup data may exist at the state, county and even city or ZIP code level. The County Health Rankings offers a summary of available subgroup data by demographics and sub-county geographies for ranked and additional measures in the resources below. 

Learn about what subgroup data is available for all County Health Rankings measures

The Digging Deeper PDF indicates which measures can be further disaggregated by age, gender, race and ethnicity, education, income, or sub-county geography. 

Learn about measure descriptions and digging deeper information for all County Health Rankings measures

In the Digging Deeper section of each measure description, more information on subgroup data is available. 

Learn about disaggregating data and the lessons these teams learned

Exploring differences in health within counties can help identify where some people or places do not experience equitable opportunities for health. The County Health Rankings provides lessons learned from three teams who disaggregated data by race, ethnicity, and small area geographies.