Community Health Assessment

Published every five years, a community health assessment measures progress toward improving Denver’s health and identifies areas of health concern. The findings help guide Denver’s public health agencies, in collaboration with local organizations and community stakeholders, on where to focus resources and efforts in future years. To help understand and respond to the key health issues that affect community health, an online health assessment dashboard was created that could be easily updated and accessed by community stakeholders and city decision-makers.

In early 2021, after almost two years of collaboration and effort, the newest Denver Health Assessment was launched. Through a sustained effort to engage partners in keeping it valuable and relevant, this resource will help Denver identify and act upon opportunities to improve community health for all Denver residents. 

The current health assessment places a high priority on health equity and racial justice, recognizing that there are many structural drivers that make one community’s experience of health different from another. Recognizing that social and economic factors – income, education, housing and transportation – cause differences (inequities) in health outcomes for Denver residents helps us understand how health is affected by events outside of a doctor’s office and sheds light on how health varies based on where one lives and on socio-economic background. The information gathered through a health assessment helps public health and community stakeholders identify and implement strategies to work with communities to improve well-being of all residents.

Assessment Reports & Data


Community Health Assessment

Youth Health Assessment

Feedback from previous health assessment efforts highlighted a strong interest in focusing on youth and developing resources to better understand the health experience of youth in Denver.

In early 2018, a youth-focused health assessment will be published. Different from past assessments which worked to capture the health experience of all Denver residents, this youth health assessment focused entirely on young people in Denver between the ages of 13 and 25.

This assessment takes a community based participatory research approach, in which Young people between the ages of 13-25 who live, learn, work, play, or pray in Denver were hired to drive the process of assessing health. By engaging young people directly, this Youth Health Assessment (YHA) ensured that identified issues and opportunities align with youth-defined needs and desires for improvement and change. The YHA highlights some key challenges facing young people in Denver while also illuminating the ways in which young people are thriving.

Read the 2017 Youth Health Assessment.

City Council Reports by District

District 1
District 2
District 3
District 4
District 5
District 6
District 7
District 8
District 9
District 10
District 11

Given the 2015 modification to council districts boundaries, some districts do not align neatly with current census tract boundaries. Information on life expectancy used the old city council district boundaries. For council districts that share a portion of a census tract with another district, we were unable to assign those inhabitants to one or the other district. About 7 percent of the entire population fell in the cross-district areas. Thus, average age, racial/ethnic distribution and median household income were estimated using the 93 percent of the population that resided in census tracts contained within the council district boundary

Previous Community Health Assessments

2014 Health of Denver Report

An executive summary is available in English and Spanish


The Health of Denver 2011, was the former CHA that informed the development of the Community Health Improvement Plan priority areas for Denver.

 Sections of the report are available by topic area:

Data Sources

  • American Community Survey (ACS) - is an annual national survey. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts it, and samples randomly selected American households. The survey provides current information on communities and families to plan investments and services.
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) - an annual national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A random selection of Denver County adults (18 and over) is interviewed by telephone, and participation is voluntary and anonymous.
  • Center for Antisocial Drug Dependence - The center was developed to study genetic influences on and treatment of antisocial drug dependence, which is substance dependence combined with conduct disorder. The Center is a collaboration between the University of Colorado Boulder and Anschutz Medical campuses.
  • Colorado Tobacco Attitudes and Behaviors Survey (TABS) - a survey of randomly selected Colorado adults administered every 3-4 years. The survey provides data for an ongoing understanding of chronic disease and health risks among Colorado adults. The survey is administered by the Colorado School of Public Health’s Community Epidemiology and Program Evaluation Group. Previous years have focused specifically on tobacco use, but the 2012 survey expanded to include other measures of health outcomes and behaviors.
  • Colorado BMI Registry Project - a collaborative effort to assess and monitor childhood and adult obesity. The system combines clinically measured body-mass index (BMI) data collected from multiple Colorado health care delivery systems. Data is pulled from the electronic medical record of each system, geocoded, and combined into one database managed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division - provides resources on motor vehicle emissions, lead-based paint, indoor air quality, indoor burning, and outdoor burning. The Division also provides services to businesses and industry on permits, inspections, and enforcement.
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Prevention Services Division - strives to improve the health and wellbeing of all Coloradans through health promotion, public health prevention programs and assuring access to health care.
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Health Statistics Section - tracks birth and death certificates which encompass vital statistics. All Denver deaths and births are included in these data.
  • Colorado Electronic Disease Reporting System (CEDRS) - a secure Web-based disease reporting system. The system is used to fulfill statutory requirements for collecting, tabulating, and reporting communicable diseases designated by the Colorado Board of Health.
  • Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) - a survey conducted by the Colorado Health Institute addressing issues of health care coverage, attitudes, access, and use in Colorado. A random selection of more than 10,000 households across the state is surveyed by telephone every two years.
  • Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) - the leading voice of the state’s hospital community of over 95 hospitals and health systems in Colorado. CHA collects emergency department and inpatient admission and discharge data and serves as a credible resource for health and health care utilization issues and trends.
  • Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) - a computerized immunization tracking system operated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The system helps healthcare providers, schools, daycare, universities, employers and individuals keep track of immunizations.
  • City of Denver, Department of Community Planning and Development (CPD) - responsible for visionary planning and ensuring safe, responsible, sustainable building for the City and County of Denver.
  • City of Denver, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) - responsible for providing environmental oversight and management, as well as public health promotion and outreach for the City and County of Denver.
  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority (DHHA) - is Colorado’s primary “safety net” institution, providing care for the uninsured and underinsured. Twenty-five percent of all Denver residents receive their health care at Denver Health.
  • Denver Public Schools (DPS) - serves the residents of the City and County of Denver. DPS is committed to making Denver a national leader in student achievement, high school graduation, college and career preparation, and college matriculation. DPS collects and analyzes student data related to a variety of health and wellness issues.
  • Esri - supplies Geographic Information System (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications. Esri's demographics provide accurate current-year estimates and 5-year projections of U.S. demographic population, households, income, and housing data.
  • Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) - Endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education, the HKCS is administered statewide every two years. The survey provides information on the health and well-being of Denver’s youth, and is administered to a random selection of students in grades 6-12.
  • Healthy People 2020 - Healthy People 2020 are a set of measurable disease prevention and health promotion objectives developed by experts in a wide variety of topics related to health. The national objectives are to be achieved by 2020.
  • HIV/AIDS Reporting System - a secure Web-based HIV/AIDS surveillance system at the state and local health departments. The health departments submit de-identified information electronically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a monthly basis.

Community Health Improvement Plan

Denver’s 2014-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) was designed to guide governmental and community-wide efforts to improve the health of Denver residents. This includes reducing health disparities and lowering health care costs. The CHIP is a citywide effort where organizations, groups, and individuals can coordinate strategies around the following two priority health areas: 

  • Access to Care, including Behavioral Health
  • Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL), including the Built Environment 



Health Impact Assessment

A health impact assessment (HIA) is a planning tool that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy before it is adopted, built or implemented. HIAs bring potential public health impacts and considerations to the decision-making process for proposals that fall outside the traditional public health arenas, such as transportation and land use. It is a “health lens” that can increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health impacts. 

HIAs are being used to help Denver’s policymakers make informed choices to improve public health through community design and development.

In 2014, the Denver City Council prioritized HIAs for all-new neighborhood plans. Denver has conducted or supported HIAs in several neighborhoods.

Westwood HIA

View the Westwood HIA. The executive summary is available in both English and Spanish

The Westwood Neighborhood is primarily residential, with commercial corridors along Morrison Rd., Alameda Ave and Federal Blvd.

Today, Westwood’s population of over 15,000 is 80 percent Hispanic in origin, with about 20percent speaking only Spanish.  Westwood is unique in that it is one of the youngest neighborhoods in Denver, with 40 percent of its residents aged 18 and younger. Most children attend the neighborhood schools, including three elementaries and one middle school.

However, the neighborhood is underserved for parks, recreation amenities, and green space; it lacks a grocery store; and it has an auto-oriented street design with narrow or missing sidewalks. These deficits in the built environment pose challenges for residents who want to choose healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, exercise and good nutrition.  However, Westwood has some unique assets in place to overcome these barriers in the near future, including a number of active community organizations, engaged residents, and the resources of the Urban Land Institute as one of the recipients of a multi-million dollar Healthy Places Initiative to design a healthier, active environment

Other Westwood HIA resources:

View the Westwood Neighborhood Plan (PDF)

Globeville & Elyria Swansea HIA

Globeville & Elyria Swansea are two of Denver’s  oldest neighborhoods, settled in the 1880s around metals smelting and railroad yards. The construction of Interstates 70 and 25 in the 1960s cut through the neighborhoods, isolating them from each other and other parts of Denver. Air, noise and odor pollution from the highways, railroads and heavy industry has created physical challenges to residents’ everyday health. Other barriers to good health include lack of a grocery store for over 10,000 residents and poor quality sidewalks, bike lanes and access to recreation.

Today the neighborhoods are predominantly Hispanic and possess a strong cultural identity centered on family and community. Residents have identified their top priority as a built environment that supports their goal of healthy lifestyles and opportunities, especially for children and youth.

View the Globeville & Elyria Swansea HIA. The executive summary is available in both English and Spanish. The recommendations in Spanish are available here

The report is also available by sections:

List of Appendices:

View the Globeville Neighborhood Plan and the Elyria & Swansea Neighborhood Plans/National Western Stock Show Station Area Plan.

South Lincoln HIA

The South Lincoln neighborhood is located southwest of downtown Denver and is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Denver, dating back to 1900. Along with many single family homes, there are two major housing developments including the South Lincoln Homes, 270 public housing units owned by the Denver Housing Authority (DHA). DHA desired to revitalize the 50-year old community by connecting it to a new light rail station nearby and improving safety, access to recreation and physical activity, and social cohesion.