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Top 5 Websites for Health Data

Have you ever been stumped on where to find data or statistics for your nonprofit's grant application? Check out my list of the Top 5 Websites for Health Data. These websites are EVERYTHING a data resource should be: updated frequently, based on data from thousands or millions of people; and easy to use and understand.

What I like most is that data is shown on downloadable and editable dashboards. These websites save me so much time when I am looking for a compelling statistic that will make the project POP on paper! I hope you find them as useful as I have :)

Top 5 Websites for Health Data

  1. US Census Bureau Quickfacts

  2. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

  3. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

  4. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

  5. Your Local Community Health Needs Assessment Report What data websites do you find useful?

US Census Bureau Quickfacts: QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more. We like to use this resource to describe the community and people a project will serve. There is a big update every 10 years and then smaller updates every 2 years. Its also a wonderful resources for highlighting population growth and declines.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: The BRFSS is the nation’s premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Established in 1984 with 15 states, BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. BRFSS completes more than 400,000 adult interviews each year, making it the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world. We use this data source to compare disease and health factors by race, income, age, and county or zipcode. Since the report has been coming out for almost 40 years we also use it for trends mapping.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: The YRBSS monitors six categories of health-related behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including—

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence

  • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection

  • Alcohol and other drug use

  • Tobacco use

  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors

  • Inadequate physical activity

We use this information to understand changes in drug use, sexual behaviors, and mental health in youth and teens. It is great for identifying problems that might be on the horizon and where public health campaigns are working.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps: The CHR&R is a program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. According to the website, the program 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. The Rankings are unique in their ability to measure the health of nearly every county in all 50 states, and are complemented by guidance, tools, and resources designed to accelerate community learning and action.

We use this report to compare health factors and behaviors across counties. It has some really cool metrics like population to provider ratios, days feeling sick or unwell, intoxication deaths, and many more. This report is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, so it is our go-to when we want to understand health equity issues and identify groups of people that are underserved.

Your Local Community Health Needs Assessment Report: The Community Health Needs Assessment created by your county or state is THE most influential data source you can use in your grant application. Many areas conduct this report every 3 to 5 years by surveying community members and leaders. They ask residents to share what they think are the biggest problems in the community. These reports then lead to action, and many states increase funding in the areas residents are most concerned about.

We use this report to show grant funders that community members support the project activities we are requesting funding for, and to demonstrate the need to solve the problem, right now.

Bottom-line: Save these data resources to your bookmarks, so they will be handy the next time you go to write a health services, mental health, or substance use grant application. They have all the data you need to write a convincing Needs Statement, or case for funding.

  1. US Census Quickfacts

  2. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

  3. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

  4. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

  5. Your community health needs assessment

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