New Cities, New Maps, New Data: Exciting summer updates

Jul. 21, 2022

Samantha Breslin, Jacqueline Betro, & Taylor Lampe

Though the COVID-19 pandemic is now over 2 years old, communities and residents everywhere are still feeling its far-reaching and long-lasting impact. Access to accurate data about health and the social and economic factors that drive health continues to be a top priority for cities and local communities across the country as they confront a wide range of challenges. That is why we are particularly excited for this summer’s data release, which promises to be one of our largest yet.

Over the last year we’ve been hard at work on geographic and metric updates to the City Health Dashboard. The Dashboard has added 140 new cities in this release, bringing our total to 906 U.S. cities. And starting today, users will now see the 2020 Census boundaries reflected for their city and be able to access 2020 data for 20 measures across all of our metric domains. Read on to learn more about what’s new.

Map - Release Blog

140 New Cities on the Site

We are excited to add 140 new cities to the Dashboard through a few different avenues: population growth from the 2020 Census, a Dashboard-led challenge to add smaller cities, and the addition of a new geography representing cities. These new cities currently have access to 25 Dashboard metrics for the most recent year of data available. We will continue to add remaining metrics and previous years of data in future releases. Each of these cities will also have access to demographic maps and tables showing the age and racial/ethnic makeup of city residents.

Population Growth

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts the total number of U.S. residents through the Decennial Census of Population and Housing. In this release, we added 42 cities whose populations grew beyond 50,000 residents in the 2020 Census. And stay tuned for a new Dashboard blog that will dive into the geographic methods used for the 2020 Census – coming this August!

Put Us on the Map Cities

PUTM Cities

In addition to the new cities added to the site due to population growth, we are also adding 29 smaller cities, ranging in population from 4,000 to 50,000, selected through our inaugural Put Us on the Map Challenge. This challenge was an opportunity for smaller cities to make their case for why they should be added to the Dashboard. You can read more about the Challenge here and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on how the small cities are putting the data to work in their local community.

New Geographies

In the past, users have emailed us to ask why their township with a larger population wasn’t on the Dashboard. In this release, we’ve decided to expand our definition of cities (originally only ‘Census Incorporated Places’) to include a designation that captures towns, townships, villages, and more in Northeastern and Midwestern states. These 69 added cities, which all have a population of 50,000 and larger, are a type of Census geography called county subdivisions. Functionally, these county subdivisions will look the same on the website as all other cities – only users who work with our downloadable data will notice a difference.

Click here to see if your city has been added to the Dashboard in this release. We're excited to also present improved mapping experiences for our users. You may now note that bodies of water like large lakes, rivers, and oceans are cut out of the map shapes, appearing in gray. Users should be able to better visualize where populations actually live and better see the shape of their cities when looking at data. You can see an example of this mapping improvement in Minneapolis, MN below.

Segregation - Release Blog

New Years of Data

We strive to keep Dashboard data as timely as possible, and are excited to update 20 measures to the most recent year of data available (2020), including all of our metrics sourced from the American Community Survey and the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). Though you might not see big changes because these metrics include many years of data, information gathered during the pandemic is starting to appear on the Dashboard. Notably though, the premature deaths metric experienced a big jump in 2020 (more to come on this topic soon)*. We have also added two additional years of data (2018 and 2019) for all of our NVSS measures.

In summary, all of these metrics have been updated:

Premature Deaths - Release Blog
Metric List - Release Blog

With these data, users can see how metrics vary over time in cities, providing essential context for policies and programs aimed at addressing these issues.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to continue to stay up to date on all things City Health Dashboard and tell us how you’ve used the data in your work!

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