The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Division of Population Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recently launched the PLACES Project. PLACES (Population Level Analysis and Community Estimates), an expansion of the 500 Cities Project, is the first concentrated effort to release estimates, obtained using model-based small area estimation methods, for 27 chronic disease measures at four geographic levels: U.S. counties, incorporated and census-designated places, census tracts and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs). The 27 health measures include unhealthy behaviors (e.g., current smoking), health outcomes (e.g., coronary heart disease, diabetes) and prevention practices (e.g., health insurance coverage, cholesterol screening).

The project supports the availability of health data for small areas within large and small cities and rural areas and hopes to aid in developing and implementing effective and targeted public health prevention efforts. The public, interactive PLACES website allows users to view, explore and download uniform county, place, tract and ZCTA-level data for all areas of the U.S. with populations of more than 50 people. PLACES is a partnership between the CDC, the CDC Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


This data advances health and promotes equity by:

  • Informing the development and implementation of effective and targeted prevention activities, programs and policies.
  • Identifying emerging health problems and priority health risk behaviors for action.
  • Helping communities understand the burden and geographic distribution of health-related issues and how to prioritize investment to areas with the greatest gaps or inequities.
  • Establishing key health objectives that the community can focus on to improve health.

View the PLACES One Pager Fact Sheet.