About the Project

PLACES Local Data for Better Health multi-color logo

The PLACES Project is an expansion of the original 500 Cities Project that began in 2015. The original project was launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and CDC Foundation. In 2018, this partnership was extended through 2020. In 2020, the project expanded to provide small area estimates (SAE) for counties, places, census tracts, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTA) across the entire United States.

Project Purpose
  • This project reports county-, place-, census tract-, and ZCTA-level data and uses small area estimation methods to obtain 27 chronic disease measures for the entire United States.
  • The data are published through a public, interactive “PLACES” website that allows users to view, explore, and download data by county, place, census tract, and ZCTA.
  • Although limited data are available at the county and metropolitan levels, this project represents a first-of-its-kind data analysis to release information for all US counties, places, census tracts, and ZCTAs. This system complements existing surveillance data by providing estimates necessary to understand the health issues affecting the residents of local areas of all sizes and regardless of urban or rural status; develop and implement effective and targeted prevention activities; identify health problems; and establish key health objectives.
Geographic Coverage
  • County: 3,142 counties within 50 states and District of Columbia (DC), including 9 county and city consolidated cities.
  • Place: 28,484 of 29,321 Places or Census Designated Places (CDP) with a population of 50 or more from Census Tiger 2019 Places and CDPs based on the Census 2010 population count.
  • Census tract: 72,337 of 73,057 census tracts in the 50 states and Washington, DC that have a Census 2010 population of 50 or more people. Compared with the original 500 Cities Project in which estimates were made only for the part of tracts within cities, this project will provide the estimates for the entire census tract regardless of city boundaries.
  • ZCTA: 32,409 of 32,989 ZCTAs in the 50 states and Washington, DC with Census 2010 population of 50 or more people.
Unique Value of the PLACES Project
  • The PLACES Project extends the original 500 Cities Project, reflects innovations in generating valid small area estimates for population health, and provides data uniformly across the urban-rural spectrum.
  • The PLACES Project is the first-ever project to provide data at multiple local area-levels, i.e., county-, place-, census tract-, and ZCTA-levels. These data can be viewed by geographic level as well as by measure and downloaded by users for their secondary analysis.
  • This project enables retrieval, visualization, and exploration of uniformly-defined local area data in the 50 states and Washington, DC for conditions, behaviors, and risk factors that have a substantial effect on population health.