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About the Data

About the Data Healthy People 2020 includes over 1,200 objectives to monitor and improve the health of all Americans over the decade. The objectives are organized into 42 Topic Areas, each representing an important public health area. To determine the success of Healthy People, it is important to track and measure progress for the objectives over the decade. Healthy People relies on many diverse data systems including:

  • National censuses of events (like the National Vital Statistics System)
  • Nationally representative sample surveys (like the National Health Interview Survey)
  • Other valid and reliable data sources (like the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute)

Measurable, Developmental and Informational Objectives

There are three main types of Healthy People 2020 objectives: measurable, developmental, and informational.
Measurable objectives have a national baseline value. The baselines use valid and reliable data derived from currently established and, where possible, nationally representative data systems. In most cases, baseline data provide the point from which a Healthy People 2020 target is set.
Developmental objectives lack national baseline data and, therefore, have abbreviated or no technical specifications (Data Details). However, all developmental objectives included in Healthy People 2020 have a potential nationally representative data source that would ultimately provide baseline data and at least 1 tracking point. Developmental objectives indicate areas that need to be placed on the national agenda for data collection. They address subjects of sufficient national importance that investments should be made over the next decade to measure their progress.
Informational objectives are a subset of measurable objectives with baselines for which targets have not been established. These objectives remain of public health importance and are tracked for information purposes.
For some objectives, complete national data are not available. In these cases, data for selected States and/or areas are used to monitor the objectives. The coverage area is described with the data for the objectives and in the Data Details. If national data become available during the decade, they will be used to track the objectives.

Healthy People 2020 Data Issues

For an overview of data issues that users of Healthy People 2020 data should be aware of, please visit

Data Updates 

The Healthy People 2020 data were last updated in May 2017.

Health Indicators Warehouse

You can search the Health Indicators Warehouse for data related to Healthy People 2020 objectives.
  1. In the search box, type in a keyword or the objective number you want to find (e.g., “heart attack” or “HDS-16”). To find objective numbers, select the topic area you are interested in from this list, and view the objectives tab.
  2. Press the enter key.
  3. Select the objective or topic from the search results.