Celebrating One Year of the Dashboard: February 2024 Data Release

February 20, 2024
By Yoomin Hwang, Caleigh Paster

This February, we’re marking the one-year anniversary of the Congressional District Health Dashboard! It feels like yesterday that we were introducing the website, a first-of-its-kind tool for data at the congressional district level, to our diverse set of users, from congressional representatives and their staff, to advocates, to researchers, and members of the media. Since our launch in 2023, the Dashboard has expanded to include census tract-level data, multi-year data for many of our measures, streamlined site navigation, improved data translation across the site, and added a tract search and highlight feature to each district’s metric map. These updates are based on user feedback that we hope will improve the user experience and aid your navigation around the site.

More than anything, this year has been about listening and learning. It’s been a privilege to be able to meet with users at conferences and connect with people in a more targeted manner through webinars, and briefings on Capitol Hill, where Dashboard leadership has presented to members of Congress and their staff. We’ve also been energized seeing the Dashboard highlighted in news outlets across the country over the last year.

To celebrate our anniversary, we have officially launched a new video series called the Dashboard Roadmap, which leads users through example journeys on the site, highlighting some of the Dashboard's best features. Check out the first episode.

As part of our continued mission to grow and expand the impact of our site, we are excited to announce a data release, full of new metrics and even more site improvements that we hope give policymakers and advocates more data to work with for improving health. Read on to learn more about the latest updates to the site and how we are celebrating one year of the Dashboard!

New Metrics

Medicaid Enrollment

Medicaid is an important source of health insurance for millions of low-income families and children, people with disabilities, individuals with chronic health conditions, and those who need long-term services and support. The Dashboard is excited to announce our new Medicaid Enrollment metric, displaying quarterly percentages of individuals enrolled in Medicaid at the congressional district level, calculated using data from the American Community Survey and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Explore Medicaid Enrollment.

Chronic Absenteeism

Last September, the White House called for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to reducing national chronic absenteeism, or the percentage of public elementary and secondary school students who miss 10% or more of the academic year. Studies have shown that children who are frequently absent are at greater risk for adverse health outcomes. Here at the Dashboard, we strive to provide useful and timely data, which is why we are happy to announce the release of our Chronic Absenteeism metric. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education, the Dashboard now displays Chronic Absenteeism rates at the congressional district level for all districts in 2022.

Check out Chronic Absenteeism in your district.

Air Pollution - Ozone

While the Dashboard already provides an Air Pollution – Particulate Matter measure to assess environmental air quality, ozone is another air pollutant linked to poor respiratory health outcomes. This release, we expanded our physical environment metrics to include Air Pollution – Ozone, a monthly average measure of ozone levels. As ozone levels can fluctuate throughout the year, this more timely measure seeks to capture those monthly changes. The Dashboard sourced data from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the George Mason University air quality team to create this monthly measure, aggregated to the congressional district level for all districts in 2022 (January – December).

Take a look at monthly Air Pollution – Ozone for 2022.

New Years of Data

We are excited to introduce new years of data for 32 metrics. Among those with updates includes 11 metrics from the American Community Survey which now have data through 2022, 11 metrics from the CDC’s PLACES Project which have data through 2021, as well as 10 metrics from the National Vital Statistics System which also have data through 2021. See below for a full list of metrics with new years of data.

New Years of Data Feb 2024

Improving the User Experience

We've been hard at work on website updates to support your data journey. We’ve added a blog and media section to complement the data we provide and created a “Data Tips” feature that provides more information about metric estimates and how to interpret them. We hope that these updates will make it easier and more intuitive to find what you need on the site – and be inspired to drive change wherever you are!

District Locator

You can now easily find your congressional district with our new District Locator. When you enter your ZIP code or your address into the locator, you will be directed to the appropriate district.

District Locator Feb 2024

The District Locator can be found on the homepage, the District Snapshot, and on the Metrics by Demographics page.

Keeping Measures Timely

The Dashboard evaluates new metrics and those already on the site continually, with high standards for statistical rigor and external validity. This is to ensure that the data we provide on the site is the most relevant for our users.

New Data Source for Particulate Matter

The Dashboard will now be using data from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the George Mason University air quality team, which allows us to provide monthly estimates for Particulate Matter at the congressional district level for all districts. Data availability on the site will now start from January 2022 to December 2022, with additional data provided during future data releases. Data using the prior source will no longer be available for download as this data is not as granular as our new source.

Learn more about the Air Pollution – Particulate Matter metric.

Removal of COVID Local Risk Index

In 2023, the U.S. officially ended the national public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, marking a huge milestone in our health efforts to combat this disease and recovery. Due to shifting circumstances and priorities in regards to COVID, we have made the decision to remove the COVID Local Risk Index from the Dashboard. While the metric will no longer be available on the site, data will still remain available for download – just email us your data request.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have any questions about the release, suggestions for future site improvements, or want help walking through the data, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Dashboard team at [email protected] or fill out this short survey. We are happy to provide personalized assistance with the site and look forward to hearing how you have been using the data this past year!

We are hosting our next Virtual Office Hours next month on Thursday, March 14th at 2pm ET, where we will be highlighting successes over the last year, as well as walking you through everything we’ve updated in the data release. Register for the webinar here. We hope you can join us!

This year has been a whirlwind but we are very proud of the work that’s been done to create the Congressional District Health Dashboard and we look forward to continuing to these efforts in the months and years ahead.