National Profile of Local Health Departments
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) conducts the National Profile of Local Health Departments (commonly referred to as the "Profile study") every three years as a census of local health departments (LHDs).
The Profile study represents the largest, most reliable data source on LHDs. This study describes the funding, staffing, governance, and activities of LHDs across the United States, developing a comprehensive and accurate description of LHD infrastructure and practice.
This PDF report presents the latest and most comprehensive data on LHD funding, workforce, programs, and partnerships.
The first NACCHO Profile study was released in 1990. Check out some of our previous studies.
NACCHO regularly publishes takeaways from the Profile study in short reports, research briefs, and infographics. Take a look at these publications from previous years.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Accreditation
This one-pager highlights key findings of local health departments’ participation in activities regarding national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Behavioral Health
This one-pager provides information about local health departments’ involvement in behavioral health services, including their workforce, programs, partnerships, and policy advocacy efforts.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Climate Change
This one-pager describes local health departments’ engagement in activities related to climate change adaptation, such as land-use planning, emergency preparedness, and disaster planning.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Emergency Preparedness and Response
This one-pager describes activities performed by local health departments to help their communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Environmental Health
This one-pager provides information on local health departments’ workforce, policy activities, and services related to improving their communities’ environmental health.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Leadership Characteristics
This one-pager highlights various characteristics of local health departments’ top executives to illustrate how local public health leadership changes over time, as well as how new and experienced leaders differ.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Leadership Characteristics by LHD Type
This one-pager describes the common demographic and educational backgrounds of local health departments’ top executives based on the jurisdiction served–whether that is small, rural population; medium, suburban population; or large, urban population.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Public Health Infrastructure
This one-pager highlights the key findings related to public health infrastructure, which includes information on local health department workforce development efforts, data and information systems, and service provision.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Public Health Transformation
This one-pager provides information about local health department leadership, partnerships, and services in the context of a complex and changing public health landscape.
2016 Profile Study Key Findings: Public Health’s Role in Clinical Medicine
This one-pager describes the role of public health in clinical medicine, highlighting local health department engagement in health care service provision, partnerships, and data sharing efforts.
Local Health Departments’ Level of Engagement in Accreditation
This research brief provides an analysis of local health departments’ participation in activities regarding national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board.
Changes in Size of Local Health Department (LHD) Workforce
This research brief provides estimates of changes in the LHD workforce based on data collected by the 2008 and 2010 Profile studies.
Changes in Local Health Department (LHD) Services and Activities
This research brief provides an analysis of changes in the mix of LHD services and activities based on data collected by the 2008 and 2010 Profile studies.
Changes in Local Health Department (LHD) Expenditures
This research brief provides a descriptive analysis of changes in LHDs’ financial capacity based on data collected by the 2008 and 2010 Profile studies.
Trends in Local Health Department (LHD) Finances, Workforce, and Activities
This report highlights changes that took place in LHDs between 2005 and 2008, including how these changes varied by state.
The Local Health Department (LHD) Workforce
This special report provides supplemental information on the LHD workforce from 2005 to 2008. Topics covered include trends on specific occupations, LHD top executives, staff recruitment and retirement, workforce development, and changes in staff size. This is a great resource for LHD leaders and staff, program evaluators, policy analysts, and public health researchers who want to know more about the public health workforce.
Big City Local Health Departments (LHDs)
The Big City LHDs presentation uses 2008 Profile data to provide a more complete picture of the infrastructure of large LHDs, including funding, workforce size, and top services offered. This report can help personalize presentations and prepare policy statements for specific LHDs.
Longitudinal Analysis of Local Health Department (LHD) Activities
The Longitudinal Analysis of LHD Activities fact sheet uses data from the 2005 and 2008 Profile studies to examine how services offered by LHDs have changed between 2005 and 2008.
ASTHO Profile of State and Territorial Public Health
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) conducts their own Profile study, which complements NACCHO’s local-level data. Visit ASTHO’s website for the survey report.
Other NACCHO Research
NACCHO also publishes various other reports using information gathered from local health department surveys.
The Data Guide to the National Profile of Local Health Departments studies summarizes the topics covered in and the implementation of each Profile study since 1990. This guide can be helpful for planning longitudinal data analysis or preparing a data request.
NACCHO encourages researchers to apply for data from its studies on local health departments. Complete the form below to request data from either or both the National Profile of Local Health Departments and Forces of Change studies. By doing so, you agree to NACCHO’s Data Use Policy.
GIS-ready boundary files, in the shapefile format, for jurisdictions served by local health departments (LHDs) in the United States are available for download. LHDs included in the shapefiles met NACCHO’s definition of an LHD during the 2008 to 2016 Profile studies. Complete the form below request these shapefiles. By doing so, you agree to NACCHO’s Data Use Policy.
Profile and Forces of Change data are available at no charge through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Consult the ICPSR Data Use Agreement Form for instructions.
For more information about the National Profile of Local Health Departments, please reach out to our Research and Evaluation team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and Evaluation
Senior Research Analyst
Research and Evaluation
Senior Director, Research & Evaluation
Research and Evaluation
Research and Evaluation Specialist
The 2008–2019 National Profile of Local Health Department studies and 2014–2018 Forces of Change surveys were supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and cooperative agreements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All Profile studies prior to 2008 were supported through cooperative agreements with CDC.