County Level Urban Sprawl Indices

Front cover image of the Urban Sprawl Report

The report and Excel files below contain methods and data concerning revised and updated urban sprawl indices. These indices, developed by Dr. Reid Ewing and his team at the University of Utah, are freely available for download.

Files Available

  1. Measuring Urban Sprawl and Validating Sprawl Measures (PDF - 4.03 MB)
    This file contains a report describing the development and analysis of the updated sprawl indices and Ewing's earlier sprawl index developed with 2000 Census data.
    • Appendix A of the report contains county compactness indices for 2010, 2000, and changes in the new and original indices.
    • Appendix B of the report contains county compactness factors and composite indices for 2010.
    • Appendix C of the report contains 2010 metropolitan Indices.
    • Appendix D of the report contains 2010 urbanized areas compactness indices.
    • Appendix E of the report contains 2000 urbanized areas compactness indices.
  2. For convenience, these data and additional tabulations, organized into separate Excel files by census tract, urbanized areas, MSA's, and county are also available.

Better data describing changes in urban form over time has the potential to strengthen evidence for the role of the built environment in access to health services and as an influence on energy balance behaviors. More information about this work and about Urban Sprawl are also available at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.orgExternal Web Site Policy. We encourage interested parties to download and analyze these data. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Peer Reviewed Publication Describing Aspects of these Sprawl Index Updates

  1. Relationship between urban sprawl and physical activity, obesity, and morbidity - Update and refinement. Ewing R, Meakins G, Hamidi S, Nelson AC. Health Place. 2014 Mar;26:118-26.

Selected Papers based on the 2000 Urban Sprawl Index

  1. Urban sprawl, obesity, and cancer mortality in the United States: cross-sectional analysis and methodological challenges. Berrigan D, Tatalovich Z, Pickle LW, Ewing R, Ballard-Barbash R. International Journal of Health Geographics. 2014, 13:3 (6 January 2014)
  2. Urban sprawl, physical activity, and body mass index: Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II. James P, Troped PJ, Hart JE, Joshu CE, Colditz GA, Brownson RC, Ewing R, Laden F. Am J Public Health. 2013 Feb;103(2):369-75.
  3. The built environment and physical activity levels: the Harvard Alumni Health Study. Lee IM, Ewing R, Sesso HD. Am J Prev Med. 2009 Oct;37(4):293-8. doi:
  4. Relationship between urban sprawl and weight of United States youth. Ewing R, Brownson RC, Berrigan D. Am J Prev Med. 2006 Dec;31(6):464-74.
  5. Relationship between urban sprawl and physical activity, obesity, and morbidity. Ewing R, Schmid T, Killingsworth R, Zlot A, Raudenbush S. Am J Health Promot. 2003 Sep-Oct;18(1):47-57.