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New Brief Examines State Health Compare's Estimates on State Funding for Public HealthMarch 27, 2018:
About the Estimates
Estimates of per-capita state funding for public health come from data collected by Trust for America's Health, which obtains its calculations using budget documents that are publicly available through state government websites. Based on which information is made available, budget document that are used include: executive budget documents that listed actual expenditures, estimated expenditures, or final appropriates; appropriations bills enacted by the state's legislature; or documents from legislative analysis offices.TFAH defines "public health" broadly to include most state-level health funding with the exception of Medicaid, CHIP, or comparable health coverage programs.
The Big Picture: Wide Variation between States
According to the estimates, there is a wide gap between state public health funding among states, with 2015 state-provided funding ranging from $4 per capita in Nevada to $221 per capita in West Virginia (Figure 1). The national average for 2015 was $44 per capita, and the median was $34 per capita.
Top States for State Public Health Funding
Seven states occupied the top five state public health fundingn spots over the course of five years, from 2011 through 2015 (the most recent five years for which data are available): Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, New York, North Dakota, and West Virginia (Figure 2).
Bottom States for Public Health Funding
Seven states also occupied the bottom five funding spots over the five-year period (2011 through 2015). Arizona, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin moved among the bottom five positions for state-provided public health funding during this time period (Figure 3).
Why the Variation among States on this Measure?
According to Trust for America's Health, comparisons of public health funding levels across states are difficult, because every state allocates and reports its budget in different ways, and states vary widely in the budget details they provide. Non-methodological sources of interstate variation in state public health funding may also include the relative performance of individual state economies (since state public health funding is often cut during economic downturns) as well as the relative tax bases of individual states along with state population counts.
Explore Additional Public Health Data at State Health Compare
Visit State Health Compare to explore national and state-level estimates for the following public heallth indicators:
- Weight Assessment in Schools
- School Nutrition Standards Stronger than USDA
- School Required to Provide Physical Activity
- Smoke Free Campuses
- Cigarette Tax Rates
- Public Health Funding
State Health Compare also features a number of other indicator categories, including: health insurance coverage, cost of care, access to and utilization of care, care quality, health behaviors, health outcomes, and social determinants of health.