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New Utah tool helps identify healthy neighborhoods

HPI Score map
Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 13:51:52-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Finding a "healthy" neighborhood is more than just looking at air quality or crime rates, so the Utah Department of Health and Human Services launched a new tool Thursday that breaks down the factors that can impact a person's health by neighborhood.

Called the Utah Healthy Places Index (HPI), this tool allow people to search areas for the quality of education, job opportunities, housing clean air, and transportation within the selected region.

Policymakers can also use this tool to find ways to make their communities healthier.

“Our vision is that all Utahns have fair and equitable opportunities to live healthy and safe lives,” said DHHS Executive Director Tracy Gruber.

“This vision is statewide and our goal regardless of where someone lives. We no longer want ZIP codes to drive health outcomes and this new tool will help us get there.”

Among other uses, the Utah HPI will enable people to:

  • Use side-by-side maps to compare data.
  • View data by a variety of geographies like Utah small area, ZIP code, census tract, county, and more.
  • Find evidence-based policies that worked in other communities.
  • Access hundreds of data indicators, including measures of equity, diversity, and inclusion; schools and education; and health outcomes.

“Where we live is strongly tied to our overall well-being and life expectancy — even more so than genetics.

However, conditions that support health — access to education, good job opportunities, and healthy food and water — vary drastically by neighborhood. We can use this information to improve our communities and make sure everyone has access to the things they need,” said DHHS Deputy Director Sarah Hodson.

Nearly 100 partners from industries across Utah provided input on what data and policies were important to include to customize the tool for Utah communities.

The Utah HPI tool is available here.