Area Resource File (ARF)

Topic/focus: Cost and Utilization, Demographics, Healthcare Facilities and Services, Vital events, Other
Years: 1997, 2008 (EDRC); Current data (online)
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Study and Sample Characteristics: Survey and vital records (records are 3000+)
Universe: All United States counties
Variables: 6,000+
Access: Data use agreement (included with download)
Cost: Free download, $50 for CD media
Key Web Link: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Primary Institutional contact: EDRC Coordinator (

Description: Produced annually, the ARF is a county-level compilation of existing data from numerous sources including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the U. S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Health Care Financing Administration. The ARF is cumulative, with the completeness and frequency of data elements varying by source. The ARF contains data items on health professions, health professions training, health facilities, hospitalization utilization, hospital expenditures, population characteristics and economic data, and environment. Also available are geographic descriptors--such as Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) codes and Metropolitan Area (MA) codes--that allow for easy aggregation of county data into other geographic groupings.