1. Ogden, Lydia L. PhD, MPP
  2. Sellers, Katie DrPH
  3. Sammartino, Cara BS
  4. Buehler, James W. MD
  5. Bernet, Patrick M. PhD


Public health funding formulas have received less scrutiny than those used in other government sectors, particularly health services and public health insurance. We surveyed states about their use of funding formulas for specific public health activities; sources of funding; formula attributes; formula development; and assessments of political and policy considerations. Results show that the use of funding formulas is positively correlated with the number of local health departments and with the percentage of public health funding provided by the federal government. States use a variety of allocative strategies but most commonly employ a "base-plus" distribution. Resulting distributions are more disproportionate than per capita or per-person-in-poverty allotments, an effect that increases as the proportion of total funding dedicated to equal minimum allotments increases.