How to Use Your Health Snapshot

Health snapshots are available for states and for counties housing measures of health outcomes and health factors based on our model of population health.

  • State Health Snapshots illustrate geographic variation in measures of health to help you better understand the health of your county within your state.
  • County Health Snapshots provide tools to help make sense of your county’s data. The snapshot and tools can help you understand your county’s current health, changes over time, and identify areas of strength or opportunities for health improvement.

Health Summaries

Two data visualizations showing Dane County's overall health outcomes and health factors compared to other counties in the state and the national average

Within each County Health Snapshot there are two graphics displaying summaries for a county’s Health Outcomes and Health Factors. Each county in a state is represented by a dot, placed on a continuum from least healthy to healthiest in the nation. 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 indicate how a county fares relative to other counties in the state and the nation. They also allow you to see how counties in a state fare on a national continuum of health. 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. 

County Health Snapshot Data & Tools

Data table showing Health Outcomes data for Dane County, WI

A County Health Snapshot includes county, state and national values, and definitions, methods and limitations for each of the measures based on our model of population health. Where possible for certain measures, Health Snapshots also include trend graphs to illustrate changes in the measure value over time.

Data for the 34 Select measures used to calculate Health Outcome and Health Factor summaries are visible in the default display. Expand the table to view additional measure data. 

State and national values may be calculated or represent the midpoint (median) of county values within the state or nation, respectively. 

By clicking on any measure row, you will open a drawer containing additional information about that measure:

Measure details

Basic information to help you understand what each measure means and key facts about the data. 

Measure definitionA brief description of the measure. It typically includes information about the units of measure. Some measures are presented as percentages, while others are rates or ratios.
Sensemaking statement

A statement that puts the county value into context and further defines more complicated measures.

Depending on the measure, it may use less technical terms or provide a benchmark such as a standard or a national average to help interpret the county value.

Error marginWhere possible, we provide the error margins (95% confidence intervals) for the county measure values. These error margins should be interpreted as "we are 95% confident that the true measure value for this county lies within the provided range."
Years of data used

The year(s) on which the measure were based. 

Note that most data collection (via census or survey) has lag times. Our dataset includes the most recent, reliable data we can access but does not represent data from the current year. For example, our dataset incorporates data from the US Census, which is updated every 10 years.

Disaggregated data

For some measures, within the county snapshot, we provide data disaggregated to represent racialized groups of people. 

Disaggregation means breaking data down into smaller, meaningful subgroups. Disaggregated data are often broken down by characteristics of people or where they live. Disaggregated data can reveal inequities that are otherwise hidden, allow us to better understand where people and places are cut off from opportunities to be healthy, and illuminate how communities can target resources where they are most needed.

Learn more about how CHR&R shares available data to understand the health of racialized groups of people.

Trend graphs

Trend graphs are available for 16 measures. These graphs allow you to examine changes in that measure over time for your county, state or the nation.

To view graphs, click on the graph icon in the Trend column of the Health Snapshot. The color of the line in the icon shows the direction of the measure trend: 

2023 Trend Graph Interpretation Icons

Download our guide to interpreting trend graphs for additional information.

Interactive maps

Place can be a strong predictor of health and maps are a powerful way to view spatial patterns in health factors and outcomes across a state. Our interactive maps are available on State Health Snapshots and can be used to advocate for the improvement of the health of all people by emphasizing and communicating place-based health disparities.  

Explore the interactive map — available for each measure — to learn more about how the different counties in your state are faring. 

Using the congressional district mapping feature

Map showing the congressional districts in Texas

On each State Health Snapshot, users have the option to overlay congressional districts on top of the Health Outcome and Health Factor maps. Selecting the Congressional District Lines checkbox below the map shows all congressional districts for your state. If you then click on a specific congressional district, the map autozooms to the selected district and reveals the counties associated with that congressional district. County-level data can be explored for each county within the district boundary.

Users can also access this feature through our interactive model of health to see measure data for a selected congressional district. This information can be used to see how health differs within a congressional district. It can be useful to share geographic disparities with your representative or other residents in your congressional district to identify actions toward health for everyone. Many congressional districts have counties among the healthiest and least healthy. This information can be useful to improve health for all by identifying areas of high need and determining where to prioritize funding.

Video tutorial

Short video tutorial with step-by-step guide on finding and using county health snapshots. 

View transcript for video tutorial