DHHS OWH Quick Health Data Online DHHS DHHS

Information on the methods and sources used for OWH's Quick Health Data Online is presented according to topic area. Descriptive and definitional information regarding the variables are provided.

Click here for information on all sources in the system.

Source information can also be accessed by clicking on the purple 'Sources' button after highlighting a variable (in Step 1). A summary of key methodological issues is provided below; more complete detail is available in the system documentation.

 Data Collection

Data have been obtained at the lowest geographic level (preferably county) and for the most refined racial and age categories available. These objectives present different challenges, depending on the particular data being sought. For some of the topics (e.g., folic acid, osteoporosis), no data readily exist at the state level or for smaller geographic areas. For other issues (e.g., prevalence of diabetes), state level survey data exist but county data are not available. Other data (e.g., infectious diseases) are available at the county level, but must be obtained from the individual states, requiring standardization across many different sources. Still other data (e.g., mortality, natality) are available at the county level and from a single national source but are subject to privacy restrictions at the county level.

 Data Sources

When possible, data were obtained directly from a single national source. In other cases (e.g., disease data) data were obtained from each state individually. In these cases, system documentation provides department names, addresses and/or web addresses for the state agencies that provided data. Wherever data were obtained from a website, a link to the site is provided in the description.

 Data Analysis

Data in the system are presented in a variety of formats. For most indicators, counts and rates are provided. Where possible, age-adjusted rates and three-year average counts and rates are also presented. Survey data are available on the system as percentages. Additional details on the calculation of various indicators can be found with the system documentation and under Frequently Asked Questions.

 Race and Ethnicity

In general, the database treats Hispanic as an ethnicity; persons of Hispanic/Latino origin may be of any race. In cases where Hispanic is treated as a race, it is noted in the system documentation. Native Americans on reservations are included in all county and state data, unless otherwise noted. Note that data for infectious diseases, abortions and fetal deaths were obtained directly from the states. For these data, race categories represent those collected and/or released by the individual states. Details on the data provided by each state can be found with the system documentation.


It should be noted that no tests were performed to determine the statistical significance of the data. Users are cautioned to examine the underlying components of indicators - counts and population, particularly for small geographic areas or racial/ethnic subpopulations. Users are encouraged to consider these data across time and in conjunction with other local information prior to making policy or funding decisions. Despite the cautionary note, the data in this database are the best estimates available for assessing health status.

System Organization

The database is organized into eleven topic areas: Codes and Status, Demographics, Mortality, Infectious and Chronic Diseases, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Maternal Health, Violence and Abuse, Prevention, Access to Care, and Healthy People 2020. An index is available to help direct users to the location of various data topics. Additionally, a detailed list of data available in the system, organized by group and sub-group is included in the system documentation.