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Local Fiscal Allocation for Public Health Departments

Research Topic: 
Health Economics & Policy
Population Health
Systems Engineering
McCullough, Mac
Riley, William
McCullough JM, Leider JP, Riley WJ. Local Fiscal Allocation for Public Health Departments. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2015; 49(6): 921-929.


We examined the percentage of local government taxes (“fiscal allocation”) dedicated to local health departments on a national level, as well as correlates of local investment in public health.


Using the most recent data available—the 2008 National Association of City and County Health Officials Profile survey and the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau Census of Local Governments—generalized linear regression models examined associations between fiscal allocation and local health department setting, governance, finance, and service provision. Models were stratified by the extent of long-term debt for the jurisdiction. Analyses were performed in 2014.


Average fiscal allocation for public health was 3.31% of total local taxes. In multivariate regressions, per capita expenditures, having a local board of health and public health service provision were associated with higher fiscal allocation. Stratified models showed that local board of health and local health department taxing authority were associated with fiscal allocation in low and high long-term debt areas, respectively.


The proportion of all local taxes allocated to local public health is related to local health department expenditures, service provision, and governance. These relationships depend upon the extent of long-term debt in the jurisdiction.

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