County by County Blog

Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Introducing a new way to view county health data

Publication date
March 18, 2024

In our ongoing commitment to innovating the tools communities can use to improve health and equity, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) will offer a new way to view the health of nearly every county in the country. The data-driven approach is available as a part of our 2024 Annual Data Release.  

Over the last decade, CHR&R ranked the health of counties within states, providing a simple way to understand differences in health. We have replaced that method with a sharper tool that allows comparisons of a county’s health with other counties, whether that’s in the same state or across the nation.  

Within each County Health Snapshot there are two new visuals. One represents a summary of a county’s Health Outcomes, or length and quality of life. The other represents Health Factors, or the conditions that contribute to length and quality of life such as housing affordability, living wages and adequate school funding.  

Graphic showing Health Outcomes groups graphic

Each county in a state is represented by a dot, placed on a continuum from least healthy to healthiest in the nation. The continuum also highlights state and national averages. The color of each dot represents Health Groups, our data-informed groupings of counties nationwide with similar Health Outcomes or Health Factors on the continuum. States may or may not have counties that fall within each of the Health Groups across the range of health nationally.

These graphics illustrate the relative similarities in county health among Health Groups on a national scale. Health Groups support data-informed comparisons and a focus on meaningful similarities that can support action but do not necessarily represent statistically significant differences in county health.  

The new visual replaces the ranking method in which counties were assigned a single number out of the total number of counties in a state. Compared to the ordinal ranking approach, this new method more accurately reflects similarities and differences between counties. Counties experiencing similar conditions can then explore ways to combat inequities together so that everyone has opportunities and resources to live long and live well. 

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