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Comparing sociodemographic characteristics of census tracts with two respective sub-county geographies

Authors: D. Aaron Vinson*, ORISE Fellow, Environmental Public Health Tracking Section, Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA , Heather Strosnider, Environmental Public Health Tracking Section, Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Angela Werner, Environmental Public Health Tracking Section, Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Topics: Population Geography, Environmental Science
Keywords: Public health, environmental health, health surveillance, populations, subcounty geography, sociodemographics
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program developed two standardized sub-county geographies to enhance surveillance options. This study explores how sociodemographic characteristics of census tracts compare with sub-county geographies created through aggregation. Population data were obtained for five states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, and New York) from the 2010 American Community Survey for three sociodemographic variables: elderly population, non-white including Hispanic population, and poverty status. The proportion of each variable for each geography was calculated. Each variable was also classified into five natural break groups for census tracts and sub-county geographies. The demographics in each state remained similar across the three sub-county geographies. For all sociodemographic variables, less than 9% of census tracts changed by two or more groups when compared to their aggregated geographies except in two states, (e.g., the non-white including Hispanic population in Maine). The Tracking Program aggregation methodology generally creates sub-county geographies with similar sociodemographics.

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