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.

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LHD Capacity to Respond to Public Health Threats

This research brief presents data on LHD emergency preparedness & response capacity.

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LHD Capacity to Respond to Public Health Threats

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The Role of LHDs in Pandemic Response

This infographic illustrates the capacity of LHDs to respond to a pandemic like COVID-19.

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The Role of LHDs in Pandemic Response

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Changes in LHD Workforce & Finance Since 2008

This research brief presents data on LHD workforce & finance capacity.

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Changes in LHD Workforce & Finance Since 2008

The first NACCHO Profile study was released in 1990. Check out some of our previous studies.

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2016 Profile Study Full Report

The 2016 Profile questionnaire was fielded from January to April 2016.

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2016 Profile Study Full Report

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2013 Profile Study Full Report

The 2013 Profile questionnaire was fielded from January to March 2013.

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2013 Profile Study Full Report

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2010 Profile Study Full Report

The 2010 Profile questionnaire was fielded from September to November 2010.

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2010 Profile Study Full Report

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2008 Profile Study Full Report

The 2008 Profile questionnaire was fielded from July to October 2008.

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2008 Profile Study Full Report

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2005 Profile Study Full Report

The 2005 Profile questionnaire was fielded from June to November 2005.

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2005 Profile Study Full Report

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1996-1997 Profile Study Research Brief

The 1996-1997 Profile questionnaire was fielded from 1996 to 1997.

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1996-1997 Profile Study Research Brief

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1992-1993 Profile Study Full Report

The 1992-1993 Profile questionnaire was fielded from October 1992 to December 1993.

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1992-1993 Profile Study Full Report

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1989-1990 Profile Study Full Report

The first Profile questionnaire was fielded from 1989 to 1990.

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1989-1990 Profile Study Full Report

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.

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                        2015 Local Board of Health National Profile

                        The Local Board of Health National Profile provides information about local board of health functions and characteristics.

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                        2015 Local Board of Health National Profile

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                        Job Loss & Program Cuts Surveys

                        NACCHO periodically surveyed local health departments to assess the impact of the recession on their budgets, programs, and workforce.

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                        Job Loss & Program Cuts Surveys

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                        1999-2000 Local Health Department Infrastructure Survey

                        NACCHO conducted a nationwide study of local public health agency funding, activities, and partnerships.

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                        1999-2000 Local Health Department Infrastructure Survey

                        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.

                        Thank you for your interest in data collected through NACCHO’s National Profile of Local Health Department and Forces of Change studies.

                        Please complete and submit the following form to submit a data request. You may also print the form and submit via email to ProfileTeam@naccho.org or mail to:

                        Profile Team, NACCHO
                        1201 Eye St. NW, Fourth Floor
                        Washington, DC 20005

                        By acquiring and use the dataset(s), you agree to NACCHO’s Data Use Policy.


                        Data Requested


                        Description of Planned Research

                        Provide a description of your planned research. Include specific hypotheses and/or research questions, and indicate how the work will benefit local public health practice. (Limit 3,000 characters)

                        Supporting Documents

                        If you would like to share any additional information related to your Profile or Forces of Change data request, please upload them here.


                        Plans for Disseminating Results

                        Briefly describe your plans for disseminating findings that feature data from the National Profile of Local Health Departments and Forces of Change studies. Please indicate an expected time frame for disseminating your findings.

                        Submit Your Form

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                        For more information about the National Profile of Local Health Departments, please reach out to our Research and Evaluation team at profileteam@naccho.org.

                        Research and Evaluation

                        Karla Feeser

                        Senior Research Analyst

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                        Research and Evaluation

                        Aaron Alford

                        Senior Director, Research & Evaluation

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                        Research and Evaluation

                        Debra Dekker

                        Director of Evaluation

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                        Research and Evaluation

                        Kellie Hall

                        Research and Evaluation Specialist

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                        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.

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