Investing in America's Health: A State-by-State Look at Public Health Funding and Key Health Facts

Public health’s investment in disease prevention can avoid unnecessary illnesses, reduce health care costs, and improve the productivity of the American workforce.

Trust for America's Health annual report Investing in America's Health, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines public health funding and key health facts in states.

Key Findings:

  • Federal public health spending averaged out to $20.28 per person in FY 2011. The amount of federal funding spent to prevent disease and improve health in communities ranged significantly across states, from $14.20 per capita in Ohio to $51.98 per capita in Alaska.
  • The median amount in state fiscal years 2010-2011 for public health equaled $29.80 per person; ranging from $3.45 per person in Nevada to $154.80 per person in Hawaii.
  • The report finds major differences in disease rates and other health factors in states around the country. For instance, 5.6 percent of residents of Massachusetts are uninsured compared to almost 25 percent in Texas, and less than 10 percent of adults in Utah are current smokers, while almost 27 percent report smoking in West Virginia.

The report makes several recommendations including: Increasing core funding for public health; using the Prevention Fund to effectively and efficiently reduce rates of disease; and reporting clearly and with transparency about outcomes achieved from the use of funds.