About the Big Cities Health Inventory


Which cities are included in this data platform?

The Big Cities Health Inventory is an open-access city-level platform providing health metrics for large U.S. cities that are members of the Big Cities Health Coalition

Austin, TX
Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI
El Paso, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Houston, TX
Indianapolis, IN
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Memphis, TN
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
New York City, NY
Oakland, CA
Oklahoma City, OK
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Seattle, WA
Tucson, AZ
Washington, DC

Who manages and funds this data platform?

The Big Cities Health Inventory (BCHI) data platform was initially developed from the work of big city epidemiologists who published chart books on a somewhat regular basis to share information with their peers in other jurisdictions. In 2015, the BCHI data platform was launched by the Big Cities Health Coalition with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This most recent iteration of the BCHI was developed and is now maintained, by the Drexel University Urban Health Collaborative in partnership with the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC). 

Scroll below to learn more about the BCHC, its partners, and funding for the project.

What are the advantages of this platform?

The Big Cities Health Inventory (BCHI) is the Big Cities Health Coalition’s open-access data platform. The platform can be used to inform public health programming, conduct research and evaluation, and support grant applications, among other uses. 

Platform capabilities:

  • Provides a snapshot of health in 35 of the largest cities in the U.S.
  • Features downloadable and shareable charts and data points
  • Contains over 150,000 data points for more than 120 health, socio-economic, built environment, and demographic metrics
  • Metrics are standardized and comparable across the cities
  • Most metrics have data from 2010 onward, allowing visualization of trends over time
  • Many metrics include data on racial and ethnic subgroups which can be used to highlight disparities in health and social determinants of health experienced by these groups

Today, more than 80% of the U.S. population live in metropolitan areas. There is a clear need for city-level data to understand and inform a city’s health, and ensure that programs are equitable and responsive to a city’s health needs. The BCHI provides a baseline of health in urban communities, and time trends can be used to explore patterns in the data that may point to the effectiveness of policies and practices at work in Big Cities Health Coalition’s member jurisdictions.

Can I download the data and how do I cite the platform?

Most of the data in the Big Cities Health Inventory come from publicly available data sources for which city data are available. Data sources were chosen based on the availability of standardized data for the majority of member cities, data available for the most recent years, and the practicability of data acquisition.

Most of the data on this platform are available for download as a CSV file. Click here to download. The Technical Documentation is available here.

When using data, charts, or images from the platform, please reference the platform as follows: Big Cities Health Inventory Data Platform. Big Cities Health Coalition. Bigcitieshealthdata.org accessed [date]. 

We encourage you to share examples or stories of how you are using this data, please tag @bigcitieshealth on social media. 

If you have questions regarding the data platform, please submit them here.

How were metrics chosen?

The Big Cities Health Inventory data platform includes over 120 metrics related to health, which encompass 11 broad categories of public health importance:

  • Life Expectancy and Deaths
  • Access to Health Services
  • Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Chronic Health Conditions
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Violence and Injury
  • Demographics
  • Physical and Built Environment
  • Social and Economic Factors
  • Poisoning

Platform metrics were selected if they met substantive and coverage & standardization criteria.

Metrics were selected if they met at least 1 of the following substantive criteria:

1. Public health relevance, in particular, their alignment with CDC’s Healthy People goals

2. Ability to serve as benchmarks for new policy initiatives

3. Can be used to highlight demographic and socioeconomic disparities in health and healthy environments. Note that about one-half of the metrics were in the Big Cities Health Coalition’s prior version of the platform (before the current/enhanced platform was developed).

Metrics were selected if they met all of the following coverage & standardization criteria:

1. There is a uniform source of the data, thereby ensuring comparability of the metric across jurisdictions

2. Data are available for at least 50% of the BCHC cities

3. Data are available for recent years

Additionally, we prioritized publicly available data (to facilitate ease of updating data and to enable data sharing) and city-level data (as opposed to county-level).

Where can I find details on the metrics and methodology?

Please visit the project’s Technical Documentation for more information on metrics and methodology.

What is the smallest geographic unit available on this platform?

Where possible, the database represents census places which follow geographic boundaries for cities. For some city jurisdictions and metrics, we used county-level data due to unavailability of city-level data.  When county-level data were used, it is noted in either the subtitle of the chart or in the footnote. 

Sub-city (tract-level) data are not available on the platform.

Which data years are available?

The platform includes data for the years 2010 – 2021. However, not all years for all cities are available on the platform, and more recent data are prioritized. If data for a specific year are not currently available, it is indicated in the footnote of a chart.

The data are updated on a rolling basis.

Why are some data not shown?

In cases where denominators were too small, certain rates are not displayed. If data for a metric is not currently available for a particular city, it is indicated as N/A on the chart.

When available, subgroup data are shown (for example, race and ethnicity categories and sex).  However, subgroup data are often not available or denominators were too small and rates are not displayed. 

Note that important subgroups, such as Native American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islanders, and Multiple race/ethnic subgroups are only available for a very small number of metrics. 

Who should I contact with my questions or suggestions?

If you have questions or suggestions regarding the data platform, please submit them here or send an email directly to uhc@drexel.edu and put "BCHC Data Platform" in the subject line.

To stay up-to-date on the Big Cities Health Inventory please make sure to follow both the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative (@DrexelUHC) and BCHC (@BigCitiesHealth) on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter.

Project Partners

The Big Cities Health Coalition

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America's largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 61 million people, or one in five Americans. 

The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative

The mission of the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative (UHC)at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health is to improve health in cities by increasing scientific knowledge and public awareness of urban health challenges and opportunities, and by identifying and promoting actions and policies that improve population health and reduce health inequities. Through three areas of emphasis, research and data, training, and community and policy engagement, the UHC works to advance knowledge, build capacity, and translate knowledge into community and policy actions to improve urban health in Philadelphia and in cities all over the world. 

Project Funding

The Big Cities Health Inventory is primarily supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through their cooperative agreement (5U38OT000172-03) with the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.