from the Solutions Journalism Network.
Health data has, for decades, been collected at the country level. Now, for the first time, the largest 500 cities in the country have compiled census tract-level data on 27 health indicators like rates of binge drinking, sleep habits, blood pressure, and use of preventive services. The project, called 500 Cities: Local data for better health, is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC Foundation. The raw data for each of the cities is available now, but the full, interactive website will be up in two months. (We’ll let you know.) What does this mean for journalists? Well, for starters, you could come at the data from a solutions angle: Who are the positive outliers? Who’s doing better than expected in each of the 27 indicators? Which low-income census tract in DC has the lowest obesity rate? Which city in the southwest has the highest rate of mammography use? That outlier census tract with the abnormally low rate of heart disease, surrounded by tracts with extremely high rates–what’s the story there? What are they doing right?