Small area data are key to better understanding the complex relationships between environmental health, health outcomes, and risk factors at a local level. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) conducted the Sub-County Data Pilot Project with grantees to consider integration of sub-county data into the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network).Design:
The Tracking Program and grantees developed sub-county-level data for several data sets during this pilot project, working to standardize processes for submitting data and creating required geographies. Grantees documented challenges they encountered during the pilot project and documented decisions.Results:
This article covers the challenges revealed during the project. It includes insights into geocoding, aggregation, population estimates, and data stability and provides recommendations for moving forward.Conclusion:
National standards for generating, analyzing, and sharing sub-county data should be established to build a system of sub-county data that allow for comparison of outcomes, geographies, and time. Increasing the availability and accessibility of small area data will not only enhance the Tracking Network's capabilities but also contribute to an improved understanding of environmental health and informed decision making at a local level.