Introduction to the
Healthy Places Index (HPI) for KDA Creative Corps

Advancing Health Equity Through High-Quality Data

Public Health Alliance of Southern California

Our Mission: Mobilize the transformative power of local public health for enduring health equity

We represent 60% of California's population

Overview of Today's Session


  • Introduction to the Healthy Places Index (10 min)
  • Using the HPI (20 min)
  • 💡 Goals

    Use the California Healthy Places Index to help identify Quartile 1 neighborhoods, understand your communities, and inform your program design.

    By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Navigate the HPI map
  • Identify Quartile 1 communities
  • Interpret HPI data and scores
  • How familiar are you with the HPI?

    Type your answer in the chat:

  • Not at all familiar
  • Somewhat familiar - I've heard of it before
  • Very familiar - I've used it before
  • Our shared value

    Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to achieve good health and well-being.

    The Social Determinants of Health

    Our health is shaped by community conditions, which in turn are influenced by policy decisions, including those that reflect institutional and structural racism.

    What is the Healthy Places Index?

    The Healthy Places Index is a tool that measures the impact of community conditions on population health and provides recommendations for policy action, all using a positive, asset-based frame.

    You can use the HPI to:

    Understand your communities

    Identify opportunities to improve community conditions

    Prioritize neighborhoods, resources, and inform program design to reduce health disparities

    Race and Place Framing

    Both race and place must be recognized and understood to implement lasting systems change

    By providing detailed data on both community conditions and race/ethnicity, the HPI map platform enables you to:

  • Understand the cultural and historical context of your community on a deeper level
  • Develop more equitable, community-forward solutions
  • Better advocate for the unique needs of your communities
  • Community Impact

    The HPI has become the go-to data tool to identify and respond to community needs in ways that keep growing and evolving, such as:

  • Active transportation funding
  • Affordable housing & rental assistance programs
  • Food security & nutrition assistance
  • Climate-related investments
  • COVID-19 Blueprint Health Equity Metric
  • And much, much more
  • Over $2.3 billion has been directed toward community investments including $272 million of COVID-19 assistance to neighborhoods hit the hardest during the pandemic.

    The HPI Components

    The HPI comprises 3 major components:

    The Index

    summarizes data on community conditions at the neighborhood level

    The Policy Action Guides

    supports moving data into action by providing policy recommendations

    The Interactive Map

    brings together the Index, Policy Action Guides, and important data on community context, like measures of racial justice and health equity

    The HPI is a powerful tool for advancing health equity when you know how to access all of the information the 3 HPI components provide.

    🔢 The Index

    Combines 23 community characteristics, like access to healthcare, housing, education, and more, into a single indexed HPI score. The healthier a community, the higher the HPI score.

  • HPI score with percentile rank
  • 23 indicators organized in 8 policy action areas
  • Peer-reviewed and published methodology
  • See our complete list of HPI indicators and Policy Action Areas:

    📚 The Policy Action Guides

    Move data into action, by exploring policy opportunities to improve community conditions.

    Evidence-based policy recommendations for each HPI indicator, and some additional decision support layers.

    Let's browse the Homeownership Policy Guide:

    🧭 The Map Platform

    Where the HPI, map, policy guides, and more live.

  • Free, interactive map to display HPI data
  • Explore dynamic policy opportunities
  • View hundreds of additional measures of community context
  • Many features and functions to support your use of the HPI
  • Interpreting HPI Data

    All of the measures on our map, including the HPI score, are expressed as a value with a percentile rank. When you click on a neighborhood, you'll be shown something like this:

    Employed: 79.7 percentile

    Employed is the indicator.

    79.7 percentile is the percentile rank of the Employed indicator in this neighborhood. It describes how this neighborhood compares to all other neighborhoods on the Employed indicator.

    We can say that this neighborhood ranks higher on the Employed indicator than 79.7% of other neighborhoods. Conversely, it ranks lower than 20.3% of other neighborhoods.

    Value: 80.2%

    80.2% is the value of the Employed indicator in this neighborhood. It means that 80.2% of the working-age population has a job.

    A value is the numerical measure of an attribute or characteristic. It can be used to compare against a specific standard or target.

    The percentile rank is how the value compares to all other values of that indicator or measure, scaled 0 - 100.

    In the Healthy Places Index, we divide percentile ranks into 4 quartiles:

    Communities in HPI Quartile 1 (0th - 25th percentile) have the least healthy community conditions.

    Communities in HPI Quartile 4 (75th - 100th percentile) have the most health-supportive community conditions.

    Let's explore the California HPI map together!

    Let's work with our communities and use the Healthy Places Index to bring the right resources to the neighborhoods that need it most.

    Using the HPI Map Features

    Learn more about how to use the HPI map tool features by exploring the recorded demos below. For each map tool feature, see a brief description of what it does, an example of how it may be used, and step-by-step instructions.

    For more detailed tutorials, check out the HPI map tutorial videos on our website (linked here Untitled)

    Community Conditions

    A professor wants to educate medical students on the social determinants of health and their impact on health among communities in California.

    View Tutorial

    Policy Opportunities

    The director of the Stanislaus County Economic Development Unit is presenting policy change recommendations before the Modesto City Council to expand benefits to local small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

    View Tutorial

    Note: You can view the guides in more detail at our new policy guide website!

    View Indicators

    A nonprofit serving Trinity and Humboldt Counties is applying for a grant to expand their education work. The development manager wants to analyze 3rd grade math proficiency data to discuss educational outcomes in this region to include in the grant application.

    View Tutorial

    Rank By Geography

    A county health department wants to see the breakdown of HPI scores amongst their county alone.

    View Tutorial

    Pool Geographies

    You have a grant application that covers 5 census tracts in which you would like to report aggregated data.

    View Tutorial

    Filter by Indicator

    You want to limit geographic results to only populations that are below 50% Median Household income in San Diego.

    View Tutorial

    Filter by Race/Ethnicity

    Oakland Unified School District wants to conduct neighborhood-specific outreach to families to increase attendance and rates of enrollment. The district wants to use HPI data to create culturally responsive, in-language materials as well as identifying key messengers for each community.

    View Tutorial

    Compare Data

    The California Community Foundation is looking to expand and revise the priorities of its economic development portfolio. The economic development program officer wanted to look at differences in per capita income by race/ethnicity to determine where they should prioritize resources first.

    View Tutorial

    📨 Get in touch!

    Helen Dowling, MPH (she/her)
    Director of Data Initiatives
    [email protected]
    [email protected]