Frequently Asked Questions
Who is this site intended for?
This site is intended for anyone interested in community health and community health data. Several audiences may find the information on this site useful, including but not limited to hospitals and healthcare providers, health departments, health coalitions, non-profits, city planners, policy makers, community educators, local service providers and students.
What is the purpose of this website?
Ultimately, we hope to provide information to a variety of stakeholders so that they may work to improve the health and quality of life in their community. We hope that individuals look to this platform as a rich source of data and information about their community.
What is an indicator?
An indicator describes an aspect of the population used to measure health or quality of life. Health indicators may include measurements of illness or disease, as well as behaviors and actions related to health.
Where does the data come from?
The data comes from a variety of state and national sources, including the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Community Survey and many state-specific sources. Most of the data is reported on an annual basis. Each indicator page includes the source of the data and, if available, the URL of the source.
What is meant by comparison?
The level of comparison depends on the source and methodology of the data, as well as the type of indicator gauge. If the data comes from a national source collected at the county-level, your county’s value will typically be compared to a distribution of all U.S. counties or to a national average. If the data is collected at the state level, your county’s value will be compared to a distribution of all counties or county-equivalents in the state, or compared to a state average or value. If the distribution or average data is not available, your county value will typically be compared to the Prior Value. An example of indicators:
What do the colored gauges mean?:
Regional Comparison Indicators: The distinct green/yellow/red gauge provides a visual representation of how your community is doing compared to other communities. The local value is assigned a status (green = good, yellow = fair, red = poor) based on how that value ranks in comparison to other communities. For indicators where a high value is good, each indicator is assigned a green value if the value is better than or equal to the 50th percentile, yellow if the value is between the 50th percentile and the 25th percentile and red if the value is less than the 25th percentile. For indicators where a low value is good, each indicator is assigned a green value if the value is lower than the 50th percentile, yellow if the value is between the 50th percentile and the 75th percentile and red if the value is greater than the 75th percentile. The median is the cut-off between the green and yellow ranking.
Average Comparison Indicators: The blended green/yellow/red and blue/white gauges show how your county value compares with the median or mean U.S. value. The gauge is blue and white when being higher (or lower) is not necessarily good or bad and is multi-colored when being higher (or lower) is good or bad.
Time Period Comparison Indicators: This gauge shows how the current value compares to the previous measurement period. A green arrow means the value is improving and a red arrow means the value is getting worse. The = (equal) sign means that there is not a significant increase or decrease since the last measurement period. A blue arrow means the value being higher (or lower) is not necessarily good or bad. These indicators are typically used when distribution data is not available or when trend data seem more relevant and important as compared to other locales. This gauge is also useful to highlight when a measure compares favorably to other communities, but the measure is actually moving in the wrong direction.
Compare to Target Indicators: This gauge shows whether or not your county meets a specific target. Your county value is represented by the left bar and the target value by the right bar. If your county’s value is green, the target has been met. If your county’s value is red, the target has not been met.