CDC Foundation and RWJF Launch 500 Cities Project

Partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will deliver data to improve the health of residents in 500 largest U.S. cities.

    • March 2, 2017
500 Cities

Atlanta—The CDC Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to release a first-of-its-kind data analysis for the 500 largest cities in America, and the census tracts within cities, to identify, analyze, and report data for a select number of chronic disease measures.

“Having data at the city and neighborhood level on heart disease, diabetes, nutrition and physical activity will be invaluable to local policymakers as they plan and implement activities to improve the health and well-being of their residents,” said Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, director of the Division of Population Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at CDC.

Limited health data are available at the county and metropolitan levels across the nation, but until now no data have been made available on a large scale for cities and small areas within cities. The 500 Cities Project will help inform the development and implementation of effective and targeted public health prevention activities in many of America’s cities. Small area health data are also needed to identify emerging health problems, and establish and track health objectives. This data will be made available through a public, interactive website that will allow users to view, explore and download city and census tract-level data. The website is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2017.

“Providing the best available data to public health officials and other community leaders will help them develop solutions to some of the most pressing health challenges our nation faces, and give everyone the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives,” said Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH, MBA, vice president, Program, at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"This readily available data to inform prevention of chronic disease has the potential to improve the lives of Americans across the country," said Judith Monroe, MD, FAAFP, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "We are thrilled to be a part of this work."

The surveillance measures developed through this project will enable public health professionals, city officials, policymakers and researchers to retrieve and explore uniform city and census tract-level data for the largest 500 American cities. This data will focus on conditions, behaviors and risk factors that have a substantial impact on public health.


About the CDC Foundation                                                          

The CDC Foundation advances the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through philanthropy and public-private partnerships that protect the health, safety and security of America and the world. Established by Congress more than two decades ago, the CDC Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has launched 800 programs and raised more than $620 million through partnerships with philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals. The CDC Foundation currently manages nearly 300 CDC-led programs in the United States and in 75 countries. For more information, please visit


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Jordan Reese

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-6322

From the Blog

The 500 Cities Project: New Data for Better Health

RWJF's Oktawia Wojcik discusses how the CDC and CDC Foundation are providing city and neighborhood level data for 500 of the largest U.S. cities, making it possible to identify emerging health problems and effective interventions.

Read the blog post