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The National Establishment Time Series (NETS) Data Licensed for Use at Drexel University

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March 21, 2019

The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative is working to share National Establishment Time Series (NETS) data from 1990-2014 across Drexel University. The NETS data is licensed for academic use across the university and includes information on more than 58 million U.S. business establishments. The longitudinal datasets provide an unprecedented opportunity to characterize changing neighborhood and business environments. This longitudinal data can assist in assessing how differential access to resources impacts population health.

The Retail Environment and Cardiovascular Disease (RECVD) study, led by Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH, Dornsife Associate Professor of Urban Health and Co-Director of the Urban Health Collaborative, Dornsife School of Public Health, recently completed the characterization of the annual point-level location and business characteristics including categorization relevant to health. These data are also available aggregated by census tracts (CT) and zip code tabulations areas (ZCTAs) throughout the contiguous United States (using 2010 boundaries).

The aggregated datasets include data on retail (NETS), census block geometries, CrimeRisk data (from ESRI), land cover (using USGS data), and rail transit (from CTOD). While each year from 1990-2014 is available for retail, available years vary for the other sources.

Previously, cross-sectional data have set the stage for the next generation of neighborhood research, leveraging longitudinal changes in neighborhood characteristics. Longitudinal studies that link changing neighborhoods with health trajectories or other outcomes of interest can help to overturn incorrect assumptions and establish whether neighborhood change precedes the health change of interest.

Lovasi is also actively working alongside other partners at Drexel to make the data accessible to the larger Drexel University community to increase cross-disciplinary research in which to further population health research or their own academic pursuits. Lovasi’s team has set up a website in collaboration with Drexel University Libraries where anyone from Drexel University can easily request and access the datasets and find corresponding documentation. For more information on the NETS datasets, visit the Drexel NETS Google site.