How to use the Utah Healthy Places Index
Frequently asked questions
The Utah Healthy Places Index (HPI) is a powerful and easy-to-use data and policy platform created to advance health equity through open and accessible data. Evidence-based and peer-reviewed, the Utah HPI supports efforts to prioritize equitable community investments, develop critical programs and policies across the state, and much more.
Neighborhood-by-neighborhood, the Utah HPI maps data on social conditions that drive health — like education, job opportunities, and clean air.. This data can be used by a variety of stakeholders including community leaders, policymakers, academics, public health professionals, and other stakeholders to compare the health and well-being of communities, identify health inequities, and quantify the factors that shape health.
The Utah HPI tool evaluates the relationship between 20 identified key drivers of health and life expectancy at birth — which can vary dramatically by neighborhood. Based on that analysis, it produces a score ranking from 1 to 99 that shows the relative impact of conditions in a selected area compared to all other such places in the state. The Utah HPI scores and compares geographies across the state with the ability to view data neighborhood-by-neighborhood in order to provide a granular view of community well-being.
The Utah HPI score rank is divided into four quartiles and displayed on a map where users can explore healthy conditions across Utah small areas, census tracts, cities, counties, congressional districts, school districts, local health districts, and ZIP codes. Additionally, the Utah HPI map platform provides detailed data about specific social drivers of health in any location and allows users to filter by race, ethnicity, and country of origin.
The Utah HPI also lists policy recommendations tailored to the health conditions of each geography. These recommendations provide guidance on where resources should be directed to create the most impact. The Utah HPI was built on the premise that lasting systems change can only occur when communities and leaders understand and recognize the connections between race and place when addressing health equity.
Anyone can access the Utah HPI platform and use it for free. The Utah HPI provides community leaders, policymakers, academics, public health professionals, and other stakeholders with the sound, validated data needed to identify and combat inequity and elevate community voices. Other ways the Utah HPI can be used:
- State and local leaders can use Utah HPI alongside input from community residents to prioritize investments, resources, and programming in neighborhoods where health needs are greatest, ensuring that all residents have what they need to be healthy.
- Planners can use the tool to analyze data and prioritize resources as they update their general or specific area plans.
- Transportation agencies can use the Utah HPI to inform smart investments in health-promoting infrastructure such as sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
- Other agencies (e.g., park or public works departments) can use it to evaluate needs, plan investments, and apply for grants.
- School districts can use the tool to understand the needs of their student body and community or to develop specific policies such as a Safe Routes to School Plan.
- Community-based organizations can conduct high-level analysis and produce maps that show health inequities in the communities they serve and use this information to influence policymakers or apply for grants.
- State organizations that span multiple communities or regions of Utah can use the tool to study the different areas they serve and advocate for increased resources and greater investments in these locations— or suggest that the tool is used to allocate funding and other programs to areas where they will have the greatest impact.
Learn more on the putting the Utah HPI into action webpage.
To improve the statistical reliability and validity of the index, we only calculated Utah HPI scores for census tracts with at least 1,500 people and where fewer than 50% of residents live in institutional settings like dorms, nursing homes, and prisons. Utah HPI scores are available for over 97% of Utah census tracts. Learn more in the Technical Report.
Utah HPI scores are currently available for:
- Census Tracts
- Congressional Districts
- Local Health Districts
- School Districts
- State Representative Districts
- State Senate Districts
- Unincorporated Areas
- Utah Small Areas
- Zip Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs)
Indicators in the Utah HPI came from many places, including, but not limited to:
- American Community Survey (ACS)
- CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- CDC Places
- CDC WONDER
- County Health Rankings
- Mapping Inequality
- National Land Cover Database
- US Decennial Census, 2020
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- USDA Food Access Research Atlas
- Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
- Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Department Encounter Database
- Utah Data Research Center
- Utah Department of Transportation
- Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking System
- Utah Geospatial Resource Center
- Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Birth Certificate Database
The Utah HPI includes one measure - Census Response Rate - sourced from the 2020 Census. Because most of the indicators cover an earlier time period (2015-2019), the Utah HPI uses 2010 census tract boundaries. Future updates to the HPI are likely to include more data from the 2020 Census, including updated census tract boundaries. Learn more in the Technical Report.
Where available, we have provided Utah HPI indicators and decision support layers disaggregated by either race/ethnicity or language. You can see the full list in the Technical Report, or by exploring the Compare Data and View Indicators functions of the interactive map platform. Any indicator with the below icon next to it is available to view disaggregated:
The Utah HPI score is a composite measure of 20 identified key drivers of health and life expectancy at birth — which can vary dramatically by neighborhood. Based on that analysis, it produces a score ranking from 1 to 99 that shows the relative impact of conditions in a selected area compared to all other such places in the state. The Utah HPI scores and compares geographies across the state with the ability to view data neighborhood-by-neighborhood in order to provide a granular view of community well-being.
Decision Support Layer (DSL) indicators are additional indicators that can be used to provide additional insight into the conditions in a community and include categories like health outcomes, health risk behaviors, school and education, and more. These 350+ indicators are not part of the composite HPI score. The available geography of the DSL indicators varies by data source. Some DSL indicators are only available at the Utah small area, local health district, and/or county level while others are available at all geographic levels. Find the full list of indicators here.
Percentile scores show how well an area performs compared to other areas in the same geographic layer. The HPI score is a percentile ranking. HPI scores are divided into quartiles.
Quartile 1: 0th - 25th percentile (least healthy conditions)
Quartile 2: 26th - 49th percentile
Quartile 3: 50th - 74th percentile
Quartile 4: 75th - 100th percentile (most healthy conditions)
For example, if a Utah Small Area is listed with an HPI Score - 49th percentile, this area has healthier community conditions than 49% of all other Utah Small Areas. Each indicator will have a percentile ranking from 0 to 100.
Value refers to the actual score or outcome for a given indicator and is frequently expressed as a percentage. For example, a value of 87% for homeownership means that 87% (or 87/100) people living in the selected area own their homes.
The Healthy Places Index has a positive framework and speaks to community assets. The Utah HPI refers extensively to the healthy community conditions and the health opportunities in a neighborhood, not where a neighborhood falls short. Most of the indicators included in the HPI composite score are presented using a positive framework, such as counting those who are employed, instead of unemployed. There are four exceptions to the positive naming of indicators, low income homeowner/renter cost burden, diesel PM, and PM2.5. The percentiles for these indicators are reversed (a higher value equals a lower percentile ranking) to ensure that a higher burden is associated with a lower HPI score.
Decision Support Layer indicators use both positive and negative framing. For instance the indicator "hypertension" refers to the percentage of people with hypertension, not without hypertension. Users should carefully review the indicator to understand the framing.
Yes! To download data using an API, visit the interactive map platform and create an account to receive your API Key. Once signed into your account, your email will appear at the top right of the map screen. To use the API Key and download data, click on your email address on the top right of the map screen. Under the API Key, click the How do I use this? You will be prompted to enter your API Key as well as the indicators, geography, and format of the data file you will download.
You may also request a copy of the complete Utah HPI 3.0 file by emailing a request to email@example.com.
We don’t have a set update schedule for the Utah HPI scores, as it is dependent on the update frequency of HPI’s component indicators, which vary from annually (the American Community Survey-sourced datasets) to five years or longer.
In the case of certain indicators not sourced from ACS, we used the most recent data available to us. Some indicators may not be updated regularly, or were produced only once. When we update the Utah HPI, we’ll re-assess each indicator we’ve included for both availability and timeliness to make sure we’re providing the most recent data possible.
After considering different ways to incorporate a race/ethnicity lens into the Utah HPI, the Alliance believes it is more revealing and actionable to stratify individual indicators by race/ethnicity groups. This is preferable to relying on a single number, which masks the dynamics of social cohesion and social exclusion experienced by different race/ethnic groups over time. However, Utah HPI scores in census tracts with majority or overrepresented Black and Latino populations tend to fall into the lowest HPI quartile, which includes communities impacted by racism and other structural inequities that limit opportunities for a healthy life. Learn more in the Technical Report.
Historic redlining refers to policies and practices created in the 1930s by the Federal Housing Administration. Neighborhoods were ranked from least ‘hazardous” (A) to most “hazardous” (D) for insuring mortgages. The practice of redlining included creating color coded maps of every metropolitan area in the country. Areas where African-Americans lived were colored red to indicate it was “too risky” to insure mortgages in these neighborhoods. These practices furthered segregation, and although the practice of redlining was banned in 1968 with the Fair Housing Act, the consequences can still be seen today. Learn more about historic redlining.
The Historically Redlined (tract) indicator in the Utah HPI indicates those census tracts given a grade “C” or “D” by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation between 1935-190. In Utah, those tracts were only in Salt Lake City and Ogden.
The DHHS Health Improvement Index (HII) was first introduced in 2018 and updated in 2022. The HII is based on 9 indicators that describe important determinants of health such as demographics, socioeconomic deprivation, economic inequality, resource availability, and opportunity structure by Utah Small Area. The HII was developed to assist communities with addressing health inequities and inform efforts to reduce the burden of health disparities in diseases and health conditions. The HII is included in the HPI as a decision support layer under the domain of “Other Indices of Disadvantage.” Click here for more details on the HII.
The Utah Healthy Places Index (HPI) is based on the California HPI developed by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California. The Utah HPI tool evaluates the relationship between 20 identified key drivers of health and life expectancy at birth. Based on that analysis, it produces a score ranking from 1 to 99 that shows the relative impact of conditions in a selected area compared to all other such places in the state. In addition, the HPI provides listings of policy opportunities tailored to the health conditions of each geography.
While both indices show strong disparities in most health outcomes, the HII is more focused on economic, educational, and household characteristics and the HPI is more broadly defined to include community conditions such as environmental and transportation in addition to economic inequality.
Yes. Users can upload their own csv files or (*.zip) shapefiles into the Utah HPI mapping system and display them on maps that resemble the decision support layer map layout and colors.
Uploading csv files: The first row of the csv file must contain the column names. One of the columns must include a region code for the selected geography type, and at least one column must include data values to be mapped. For more details regarding the required key identifiers assigned to each geography type, see the templates provided for each geography in the Utah HPI under the Upload Data function. User-uploaded maps can be viewed in the HPI mapping tool and/or downloaded. They do not interact with other HPI maps or functionality of the HPI such as ranking or comparing data. User-uploaded maps cannot be viewed or accessed by other users.
Uploading shapefiles: Shapefiles must be in an archive (*.zip) containing .shp and .dbf files. Additional requirements are:
- The shapefiles must use the WGS84 coordinate system
- The geography of the layer must overlap Utah
- The feature names should be in a field called name
Data uploaded through shapefiles can be used as an overlay with other maps in the Utah HPI.
Utah HPI Citation: Bodenreider C, Damicis A, Delaney T, et al. Utah Healthy Places Index. Public Health Alliance of Southern California and Utah Department of Health & Human Services; 2022. Technical report. Accessed [month day, year]. https://files.healthyplacesindex.org/Utah_HPI_Technical_Report_2022-10-20.pdf
Utah HPI in-text citation: The Utah Healthy Places Index (UT HPI) is a tool developed by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, creators of the California Healthy Places Index™.
Utah Healthy Places Index™ © 2018 – 2022 Public Health Alliance of Southern California. Permission is hereby granted to use, reproduce, and distribute these materials for noncommercial purposes, including educational, government and community uses, with proper attribution to the Public Health Alliance of Southern California and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, including this copyright notice. Use of this publication does not imply endorsement by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California or the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.