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About the Data

Data Sources

Data used in this report includes:

  • Death data from the California Integrated Vital Records (CalIVRS) system, based on death certificates/reports transmitted to the California Department of Public Health.  Much of this data is accessible at CDPH's Community Burden of Disease website.

  • Leading causes of death data, shown in 3-year rolling averages, from the CA Department of Public Health's County Health Status profiles.

  • Hospital inpatient discharges and Emergency Department encounters from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI).

  • Social determinants of health data from a variety of sources, including the CA Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS).

  • Reportable infectious disease data from SLO Public Health.

  • Resident experiences around health from SLO County's 2023 Community Health Survey.  See summaries of this data here and here.

Technical note


The COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in disease prevention and care activities, including reduced screenings, program resources, and case investigations. The impact of these disruptions likely continued in 2021 and, as a result, surveillance data collected during 2020 and 2021 should be interpreted cautiously.

  • Number of deaths (or hospitalizations, etc.) describes the absolute magnitude of deaths, and is a clear and easily understood measure. All other things being equal, the number of deaths will be larger in areas with larger populations. This measure does not take into account the age or size of the population. 

  • Crude Death Rate takes the size of the population into account by dividing the number of deaths by the number of people in the population (multiplied by 100,000 for interpretability, i.e. number of deaths per 100,000 people).  

  • Age-adjusted Death Rate takes into account or “controls” for the age distribution of the population where the rate is being assessed. It is the rate that would have existed if the population had the same age distribution as a reference population. This allows for comparisons between populations with differences in age distributions, accounting for the fact that age itself is generally correlated with higher mortality. 

  • Life Expectancy (specifically, “Life Expectancy at Birth”) is a familiar and widely used measure, which summarizes in one number the ‘force of mortality’ in a population, and provides a valuable single measure to compare the overall health status between populations. Its calculation is complex, but is generally interpreted as the number of years people born in a particular year are “likely” to live. 

  • Years of Life Lost (YLL) (sometimes referred to as “premature mortality” and sometimes as “years of premature life lost (YPLL)”) is calculated by summing for all deaths the number of years prior to age 75 that each death occurs, with 0 YLL used for deaths occurring at ages >= 75.

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