1. Leider, Jonathon P. PhD
  2. Sellers, Katie DrPH, CPH
  3. Bogaert, Kyle MPH
  4. Liss-Levinson, Rivka PhD
  5. Castrucci, Brian C. DrPH, MA


Objectives: To ascertain levels of turnover in public health staff between 2014 and 2017 due to retirement or quitting and to project levels of turnover for the whole of the state and local governmental public health in the United States nationally.


Design: Turnover outcomes were analyzed for 15 128 staff from public health agencies between 2014 and 2017. Determinants of turnover were assessed using a logit model, associated with actually leaving one's organization. A microsimulation model was used to project expected turnover onto the broader workforce.


Results: Between 2014 and 2017, 33% of staff left their agency. Half of the staff who indicated they were considering leaving in 2014 had done so by 2017, as did a quarter of the staff who had said they were not considering leaving. Staff younger than 30 years constituted 6% of the workforce but 13% of those who left (P < .001).


Conclusions: Public health agencies are expected to experience turnover in 60 000 of 200 000 staff positions between 2017 and 2020.


Implications: As much as one-third of the US public health workforce is expected to leave in the coming years. Retention efforts, especially around younger staff, must be a priority. Succession planning for those retiring is also a significant concern.