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The Assessment, Policy Development and Evaluation (APDE) Unit in Public Health – Seattle & King County has a number of data sources in-house and know of many more. The best way to get a sense of the data APDE has available is to look at our reports, in particular, Community Health Indicators.

We most commonly use data on vital statistics (births and deaths), hospitalizations, and population estimates. For information on health behaviors and risks, we most often use the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) or the Healthy Youth Survey (HYS). We also use Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) data extensively. If what you're looking for is not already available, our data request service assists users by performing custom analyses of available data. We often know of other people who may be of assistance and are happy to facilitate introductions.

Contact us

See tips below on how to submit an effective data request. You will receive an email within 24 hours noting your message was received.

Helpful tips:

Data request policy

If none of the above-mentioned sources have data which fit a requester's data needs, and if the question is one which we have data to address, we can do a customized data analysis for a requester as timeline and capacity permit. Our policy is to offer the first two hours of staff time for a particular project free of charge (this includes time for phone conversations and e-mail correspondence); beyond that time frame we charge $100 an hour, with a three-hour minimum. We are now staffed on Mondays and Thursdays. Our goal is to fulfill data requests in three weeks or less, on a first-come, first-served basis. However, on occasion our work plan does not permit us to answer requests within three weeks. On those occasions a completion time will be mutually agreed upon.

  • Data requests that take two or fewer hours of total staff time to prepare will be free to the requester. For data requests that take more than two hours:
    • Staff time in excess of the first two hours will be charged at $100/hour, with a 3-hour minimum. Please contact us at to work with us to set up a contract.
    • Please contact us with as much notice as possible to allow time for the contract to be finalized.

  • The two-hour limit is specific to the requester, not the organization. Requesters from the same organization but who are clearly working on different projects will be treated as separate requesters.

  • The two-hour time limit is per calendar year.

  • Health departments in local health jurisdictions in Washington state, the Washington State Department of Health, other King County government departments, and other public governmental agencies in King County, will be exempt from fees to cover the costs of routine data requests. This includes internal requests from other Public Health - Seattle & King County divisions. However, all other agencies and individuals will be covered by this policy.

  • When possible, data requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. However, staff will have discretion on the order in which requests are filled. Our goal is to provide data requested in 3 weeks or less, although larger requests may require a longer time to complete.

How to make an effective data request

E-mailing your request to with the information below will make the process smoother. We will contact you within 24 hours. Take a look at our Community Health Indicators site. We might already have what you're looking for.

Please include the following in your data request:

  1. Contact info (name, email, and phone)

  2. Date needed
    When do you need this by? We often have competing urgent requests so prioritizing may be necessary.

  3. Purpose of the request (program planning, grant, research paper, etc.)
    Briefly describe your program, grant, paper, or project. Context helps us understand your request, and we may know of other relevant data to help.

  4. Is this request related to a past request, and/or do you have a table or chart you would like duplicated?
    It helps us to see past correspondence and copies of the tables or charts you want us to reproduce/update.

  5. Specific data needed or desired, even if you think it may not be available (we can help identify available data).
    Examples: Details on particular cause(s) of death, difference between current asthma vs. ever told to have asthma, percent below 100% or 200% or 300% of Federal Poverty Level, etc. 

  6. Specific data source, if known
    • Vital Statistics (Examples: birth, death, hospitalizations)
    • Survey data (Examples: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, Healthy Youth Survey)
    • Census Bureau data (2000 Census, American Community Survey, other demographic data)
    • Other

  7. Time frame of data (we can clarify for you what is the most recent year of data available)
    Examples: Are data from the most recent year of data OK? Most recent three years? Do you want to look at trends over a longer period? And,, how old is too old (for example, for a 2009 grant application, is 2000 census data OK)?

  8. Geographic area
    Examples: State, King County (KC), KC city, KC health planning area, zip, tract, block group

  9. Demographic characteristics -- please specify how you want these to be analyzed
    Examples: Age groups (which age groupings), race/ethnicity (with Latino as ethnicity or race), gender, etc.

  10. Be aware that as you define more specific categories, the number of cases for analysis gets smaller. If the numbers get too small to be reported, what could be aggregated? (we can assist with this decision)
    Examples: Broader age groups? Larger geographic area? A group of years rather than single years?

  11. Format preferred
    Examples: Excel table, chart, map, narrative

Finally, we encourage you to think through your entire request and ask for all aspects of what you expect to need—it is faster and easier for us to do multiple analyses at one time rather than in batches, which means you get your information sooner. We do understand that sometimes the first batch of results leads to more questions, but sometimes a thoughtful process in advance can be more efficient!