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Small-Area Community SDOH Data: Enhancements and Linkages to Inform Action

Small-Area Community SDOH Data: Enhancements and Linkages to Inform Action
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Start Date
  • 10/01/22
  • Standardized Collection of Standardized Clinical Data
  • Linking Clinical and Other Data for Research
  • Use of Publicly-Funded Data Systems for Research


STATUS: Active Project


This project builds on a previously funded OS-PCORTF project (“Enhancing Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR): Creating a National Small-Area Social Determinants of Health Data Platform”) in which AHRQ developed a consolidated set of national standardized databases on valid and reliable social determinants of health (SDOH) factors at the small-area and other geographic levels. SDOH are estimated to account for over 50% of county-level variations in health outcomes and are significant drivers of health disparities. As such, small-area SDOH data – data at the community or sub-county level – are critical for understanding and addressing community-level variations and improving health equity.

The goal of this project is to improve the utility and usability of small-area SDOH data for PCOR studies by providing timely and predictable updates to the data in the existing SDOH database; expanding the variables and types of data available; and ensuring that the database meets the needs of end users in order to generate high-quality evidence that informs decisions and improves health outcomes. Ensuring the availability and suitability of these data for research, analysis, and policymaking is a major priority for HHS and its agencies.


This project will evaluate, refine, update, and expand on the existing AHRQ SDOH Database to achieve the following objectives:

  • Update existing database with additional years (data at the county levels, zip code tabulation areas, and census tract levels for 2021-2023)
  • Increase the granularity of existing data by adding census block group level data, a geographic level smaller than the census tract, for 2009-2023
  • Identify and add new data sources
  • Ensure that the database meets the needs of end users through evaluation, training, and dissemination