User's Guide to Minnesota Public Health Data Access

The Minnesota Public Health Data Access portal (also called the Data Access Portal) provides access to data on a variety of environmental and health topics. This user's guide includes:

What to use the portal for:

The data access portal shows key health inequities by age, race, gender, income and more.  This information helps to focus state and local initiatives on at-risk populations and areas in Minnesota.  See examples at MN Public Health Data Access for cancer incidence by race/ethnicity, childhood poverty (map), and health insurance by race/ethnicity.
Data on the Minnesota Public health Data Access portal are used by city and county officials to inform priorities for public health planning and assessment.  The data also help health agencies achieve national accreditation.
Data on the Data Access Portal are used to factor health into decisions about land use, transportation, climate adaptation strategies, and other topics.  The data help support evidence-based, long-term investments in the built environment, for example, to promote health and environmental outcomes, and quality of life. See the Data Access Portal and Health Impact Assessment.

How to use the portal:

All topics that the portal has data for are listed on the portal home page and the All Topics page. One tab shows all topics, listed alphabetically, and another shows them listed by category: Child Health, Climate, Diseases and Conditions, Environmental Health, Health Behaviors and Risk Factors, and Healthy Homes.

Each topic includes:

  • Topic main page - with a description of the topic and links to resources
  • View Charts -  shows charts and graphs of data collected on the topic
  • Explore data - query tool to customize data, if available
  • Maps - browser interactive or static maps
  • About the data -  background information on how the data were collected and analyzed, including data sources

Throughout these pages, you can hover the mouse pointer over some words and charts to get definitions of words, or to show the numbers for the data in charts.

To return to the home page, click Home icon on the top left.

Throughout the pages on the Data Access Portal, there are places where you can get more information by hovering your mouse pointer over a word or image. If a word is underlined in green, then hovering the mouse pointer over it will automatically display the word's definition from the Glossary. For the graphs and charts available throughout the "View Charts" section of each topic, hovering over an area will show the data value (number) associated with that area. For example, see Incidence of Melanoma in Minnesota, by year, on the Melanoma View Charts page.

Each topic area on the portal has a web page with information and details about the data. This page identifies the source of the data, as well as the data's strengths and limitations. For an example, see About the cancer data.

Explore data

Data queries have been developed to allow you to generate a custom data table based on your specifications.

If a topic has an Explore data navigation button on the top left of the Topic Page, then its data can be queried. Choose a data option for each section available e.g. year(s), county(ies).

When you are finished setting up your query, click "submit query." A table will appear showing the data that you have chosen.

You can also scroll back up and change the specifications of your data query. To save this table, click the button labeled "Download Data." 

To return to the Data Access Portal home, click "Home icon on the top-left menu.

To search the portal, go to the search bar on the top banner of any page. Enter something you would like to search for - for example, Melanoma - and click the magnifying glass on the right side of the search bar. The search results allow you to filter the results by topic information available on the Data Access Portal or on the Minnesota Department of Health website. 

The Data Access Portal has several resources to help you use and understand the information:

If you need help with something, email health.dataportal@state.mn.us.