Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find a list of questions and answers that may come up as you explore the Congressional District Health Dashboard. If your question is not listed here, please email us at [email protected].

How should I cite the Congressional District Health Dashboard?

Department of Population Health, NYU Langone Health. Congressional District Health Dashboard. Accessed [INSERT DATE OF ACCESS].

Can I download the Dashboard data to analyze on my own?

Yes, the data are available for download as a .csv or .txt file here.

How were the metrics calculated?

More information on metric calculations is available in the Congressional District Health Dashboard Technical Document, as well as the metric background page.

Can I trust this data? How did the Dashboard validate the data?

Our team is part of a nonpartisan academic institution and our goal is to provide objective data on health and its drivers, as well as health equity at the congressional district level.

The Dashboard team completed extensive analyses to validate our methods and analytic decisions for deriving congressional district estimates. Please email us at [email protected] to learn more. More information on this process and on which metric values were posted as received from the data source is available in the Congressional District Health Dashboard Technical Document.

Why do only some metrics have demographic breakdowns?

Not all metrics have demographic data, depending on the demographic groups reported by underlying data sources.

Why are data missing from my district’s page?

Unfortunately, data for all metrics are not available for every congressional district. Data may be missing for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Sparse data. Smaller populations do not produce as much data as large populations. This may make estimates unreliable, preventing their release.

  • Data not released. Data sources may not release values to protect individual privacy or because of quality concerns.

  • Internal censorship policies. Per the terms of a data source’s use agreement the Dashboard may not release values that do not meet certain criteria. More information on data censorship criteria is available in the Congressional District Health Dashboard Technical Document.

We might add the data you are looking for in the future. Sign up here to be notified when new data are released.

Why might the Dashboard’s estimates vary from estimates of similar metrics on other sites?

Estimates of similar metrics may differ between the Dashboard and other resources due to different data sources and analytic techniques. When comparing the Dashboard’s estimates to other similar metrics on similar sites, please use caution and refer to the Congressional District Health Dashboard Technical Document to understand all potential sources of difference.

Will the Dashboard provide multi-year data?

Yes, we intend to provide multiple years of metric data as new years of data become available to calculate. This will be available on the Trends Over Time page in future releases on the site.

Update: As of June 2023, the Congressional District Health Dashboard has multiple years of data for over 20 metrics. The Dashboard will continue to add years of data for all metrics, as the data is available.

What is the Dashboard’s update schedule?

The Dashboard strives to refresh the data in as near real time as possible. However, the update schedule depends on the update schedules for the underlying data sources. All the data sources are updated regularly, generally at least every 1-2 years. In addition to data year updates, the Dashboard Initiatives team will continue to make feature and content updates to the site multiple times per year.

Who created the Dashboard?

The Congressional District Health Dashboard is developed by our team at the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It builds on our work creating the City Health Dashboard, which provides similar metrics at the city and census tract level. Our team consists of epidemiologists, geospatial analysts, and public policy and population health experts. We are part of a nonpartisan academic institution that provides objective data on health and its drivers, as well as health equity. Site creation is also supported by our developers at ForumOne.

What is a census tract?

Census tracts are subdivisions of a county or an equivalent entity with a population of 1,200 to 8,000 people. Census tract boundaries facilitate statistical comparison from census to census; however, census tract boundaries may change between decennial censuses. In more urban areas, a census tract roughly corresponds to a neighborhood, but it does not always align with familiar neighborhood boundaries. Learn more about census tracts here

I noticed that Limited Supermarket Proximity metric has been removed. What happened?

The Dashboard evaluates new metrics and those already on the site continually, with high standards for statistical rigor and external validity. When the team discovers questions about methodology or user-relevance, we remove the metric from the site and continue research and development for potential replacements. In this case, the Dashboard team questioned whether the ½ mile distance to a supermarket was an appropriate cut-off for all congressional districts, urban and rural. We also discovered methodology questions around missing values. So the metric has been removed, and we aim to have a replacement measure of food access/insecurity in the near future.

I noticed that the state and at-large district values have changed. What happened?

At the time of the site’s launch in January 2023, all state metric estimates were the average of all of its congressional districts’ values. To improve validity, the Dashboard has updated state estimates and at-large district estimates from averages to true state estimates, for all metrics for which this is appropriate.