Impact of the 2008-2010 economic recession on local health departments

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Public Health Management and Practice


Volume 18, Issue 2

Inclusive Pages



Economic Recession--trends; Health Services Accessibility--trends; Local Government; Public Health Administration--economics; Health Care Costs; Public Health Leadership; Workforce Issues; Community Health Centers


We measured the impact of the 2008–2010 economic recession on local health departments (LHDs) across the United States. Between 2008 and 2010, we conducted 3 Web-based, cross-sectional surveys of a nationally representative sample of LHDs to assess cuts to budgets, workforce, and programs. By early 2010, more than half of the LHDs (53%) were experiencing cuts to their core funding. In excess of 23 000 LHDs jobs were lost in 2008–2009. All programmatic areas were affected by cuts, and more than half of the LHDs had to reduce or eliminate at least 1 programmatic area. The capacity of LHDs to provide core public health services was undermined by the economic recession.

Peer Reviewed