Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and PLACES Data

Key takeaways:
  • PLACES now includes 9 SDOH measures from the American Community Survey.
  • Examining local level measures across data sources can enhance community planning efforts to improve health.

Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Learn more about CDC resources for SDOH data, research, tools for action, programs, and policy at: Social Determinants of Health at CDC

‘Linking Local-Level Chronic Disease and Social Vulnerability Measures to Inform Planning Efforts: A COPD Example’ highlights how PLACES data can be combined with an SDOH data tool to inform public health planning.

Adding SDOH Measures to PLACES


  • In 2023, CDC added 9 SDOH measures to PLACES from the American Community Survey (ACS) at 4 geographic levels (December 2023).
  • Incorporated SDOH measures into the Interactive Map.
  • Published separate datasets with the ACS measures to the Data Portal.
  • Included new Measure Definitions.

Added value of SDOH measures for public health planning

  • Users can identify which health and SDOH issues overlap in a community and use this information for public health planning.
  • SDOH data can inform planning activities for partners across sectors like education, transportation, and housing.
  • New SDOH measures complement existing PLACES SDOH measures, including health insurance and routine check-up.

How to jointly examine the SDOH and PLACES measures:

  • Open both maps and look at them side by side.
  • Overlay datasets using GIS software.
  • Merge the datasets for a more in-depth analysis.

Note to users: Current PLACES estimates at the place, census tract, and ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA)-level use Census 2010 geographies while the new SDOH measures from ACS use Census 2020 geographies. Currently, these two datasets cannot be merged. The 2024 PLACES release will use Census 2020 geographies for all measures.

American Community Survey (ACS)
Area Health Resources Files (AHRF)
  • Geographic level of data: county
  • Publisher: Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Data:
  • The AHRF data files include data on health care professions, health facilities, population characteristics, economics, health professions training, hospital use, hospital expenditures, and environment.
Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America
Community Resilience Estimates
  • Geographic level of data: state, county, census tract
  • Publisher: U.S. Census Bureau
  • Data:
  • Community resilience is the capacity of individuals and households to absorb, endure, and recover from the health, social, and economic impacts of a disaster such as a hurricane or pandemic. Estimates at the tract and county level are calculated by modeling individual and household characteristics, including poverty, crowding, and unemployment.
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHRR)
  • Geographic level of data: county
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
  • Data:
  • County Health Rankings & Roadmap is a program which provides data, evidence, guidance, and examples to build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health and support leaders in growing community power to improve health equity.
Crime Data Explorer (CDE)
Environmental Dataset Gateway (EDG)
  • Geographic level of data: county, census tract, census block group
  • Publisher: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Data:
  • The EDG provides access to EPA’s Open Data resources, including datasets related to air, water, temperature, precipitation, flood, and environmental justice.
Environmental Justice Index (EJI)
  • Geographic level of data: census tract
  • Publisher: CDC/ATSDR
  • Data:
  • The EJI uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rank the cumulative impacts of environmental injustice on health for every census tract. The EJI ranks each tract on 36 environmental, social, and health factors and groups them into three overarching modules and ten different domains.
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
Food Environment Atlas
  • Geographic level of data: state, county
  • Publisher: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS)
  • Data:
  • The Atlas provides estimates on three broad categories of food environment factors: food choices (e.g., access and proximity to a grocery store; number of food stores and restaurants), health and well-being (e.g., food insecurity), and community characteristics (e.g., demographic composition; recreation and fitness centers).
Local Area Transportation Characteristics for Households (LATCH)
  • Geographic level of data: census tract
  • Publisher: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Data:
  • LATCH data provides average weekday household person-miles traveled, person trips, vehicle-miles traveled and vehicle trips at census tract level.
Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)
  • Geographic level of data: state, county, metro area
  • Publisher: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Data:
  • The LAUS portal provides data on unemployment rates by month and 12-month net changes.
Location Affordability Index (LAI)
  • Geographic level of data: census tract
  • Publisher: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Data:
  • The LAI provides estimates of household housing and transportation costs at the neighborhood-level along with constituent data on the built environment and demographic characteristics.
National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network
  • Geographic level of data: county, census tract
  • Publisher: CDC, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
  • Data:
  • The Tracking Network is a system of integrated health, exposure, and hazard information and data from a variety of national, state, and city sources.
Social Determinants of Health Database
  • Geographic level of data: county, census tract, ZCTA
  • Publisher: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Data:
  • The beta data files include data that correspond to five key SDOH domains: social context (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, veteran status), economic context (e.g., income, unemployment rate), education, physical infrastructure (e.g., housing, crime, transportation), and health care context (e.g., health insurance).
Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)
  • Geographic level of data: county, census tract
  • Publisher: CDC/ATSDR
  • Data:
  • The CDC/ATSDR SVI uses 16 U.S. census variables to help local officials identify communities that may need support before, during, or after disasters.