AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition (NE) releases new data and vulnerability indices to assist with COVID-19

UCLA CHPR's California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey, provides accessible data at the census tract, ZIP code, city, county, and legislative direct levels

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UCLA CHPR Communications Team

Whether you’re a policymaker interested in understanding the health needs of your diverse legislative district, a community organization advocating for a healthy food program, a journalist looking to uncover factors that lead to COVID-19 risk, or a concerned citizen, AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition (NE)™ has your data needs covered.

Today, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) unveiled new updates to AskCHIS NE, a data dissemination and visualization platform that provides health estimates at sub-county geographic regions in California. With AskCHIS NE, you can access and visualize reliable health data at census tract, ZIP code, city, county, and legislative district levels.

Drawing upon the responses of more than 20,000 Californians interviewed each year by CHIS, AskCHIS NE covers a wide range of health topics — from chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, to access to health care and mental health, physical activity, food insecurity, and so much more. The new update, which includes data from the 2018 CHIS, includes several new indicators that are modeled small area estimates from CHIS to our new 2018 data: adults without dental insurance, adult dental visits in the past year, adults with teeth in fair/poor condition, adults using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, and adults performing volunteer work or community service in the past year.

In addition to the new indicators, this release includes the following vulnerability indices at the census tract level only:

Preexisting Health Vulnerability Index: captures risk of COVID-19 infection and death due to preexisting health conditions. This index comprises six different 2016 AskCHIS NE variables: adult diabetes, obesity, heart disease, health status, psychological distress, and food insecurity. This index was featured in a UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge study released earlier this week.

Area Deprivation Index: based on a measure created by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It allows for rankings of neighborhoods by socioeconomic disadvantage in a region of interest.

Healthy Places Index: created for the Public Health Alliance of Southern California. This index combines 25 community characteristics into a single indexed score.

Social Vulnerability Index: created for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help public health officials and emergency response planners identify and map communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a hazardous event.

AskCHIS NE is one of several free online tools offered by CHIS. AskCHIS, our online health query system that allows you to quickly search for health statistics by county, region, and state, is also used by policymakers, media, community organizations, and researchers.

“Last year, more than 100,000 queries were run in AskCHIS and AskCHIS NE. That’s nearly 275 queries per day,” says Todd Hughes, director of the California Health Interview Survey. "Now, more than ever, we need access to reliable data to identify COVID-19 vulnerabilities, protect the most at-risk communities, support decision-making, and inform policy."
Using AskCHIS NE is simple:

  • Log onto and create a free account. If you have previously used AskCHIS, you can use your existing user name and password.
  • Select a topic from the panel on the left.
  • Search for geographic areas of interest and select the “create a table” button.
  • The search results are quickly displayed in a table, bar chart, and interactive map.

Want to see these tools and more in action? UCLA CHPR will host a data user training on Wednesday, March 10, from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., where our staff will demonstrate how to use CHIS' free online data tools to get data on a wide range of health topics across many sociodemographic factors. Can't make the session? Check out our tutorial videos on YouTube.

About the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research CHPR is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. UCLA CHPR improves the public’s health through high quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that informs effective policymaking. UCLA CHPR is the home of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and is part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. For more information, visit