National Profile of Local Health Departments, 2008 (ICPSR 26962)

Principal Investigator(s): Leep, Carolyn J., National Association of County and City Health Officials


Conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the purpose of this survey of local health departments (LHDs) was to advance and support the development of a database for LHDs to describe and understand their structure, function, and capacities. Each LHD in the United States received a questionnaire with a set of core questions. In addition, some of the LHDs received one of three randomly assigned modules of supplemental questions. The core questions covered jurisdictional information, governance, funding, workforce (staffing levels, occupations employed, top executive education and licensure, and percentages of staff by gender, race, and Hispanic origin), LHD activities, health disparities, and community health assessment and planning. The surveyed LHD activities include immunization, screening for diseases and conditions, treatment for communicable diseases, maternal and child health, epidemiology and surveillance activities, and regulation, inspection and/or licensing activities. Topics covered by Module 1 include awareness and use of NACCHO's operational definition of a functional local health department, familiarity with a voluntary national accreditation program (VNAP) for state and local health departments, LHD promotional activities, use of the logo and tagline that NACCHO developed for local governmental public health, and characteristics of LHD Web sites. Module 2 examined human resources, awareness and use of core competencies related to public health, interaction with academic institutions, internal agency strategic planning, sharing of resources with other LHDs, and information technology. Finally, Module 3 asked about community health assessment and health improvement planning, essential services and activities, land use planning, policy-making and advocacy, partnership and collaboration with other organizations, and access to health care services.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    As explained in the ICPSR Processing Note in the codebook, some variables are restricted from general dissemination for reasons of confidentiality. Users interested in obtaining the Restricted-Use Version of the Data, which contains both the restricted and not restricted variables, must complete an Agreement for the Use of Confidential Data, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research. Apply for access to these data through the ICPSR restricted data contract portal, which can be accessed via the study home page.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Public-Use Version of the Data - Download All Files (24.046 MB)

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DS2:  Restricted-Use Version of the Data - Download All Files (23.909 MB)

ASCII + SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Leep, Carolyn J. National Profile of Local Health Departments, 2008. ICPSR26962-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-05-05.

Persistent URL:

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U50/CCU302718, U38/HM000449-01)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (61911)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    community health, health care services, health departments, health planning, local government, public health

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2008

Date of Collection:   

  • 2008

Universe:    All LHDs in the United States. LHDs were defined as administrative or service units of local or state government concerned with health and carrying some responsibility for the health of a jurisdiction smaller than the state. Hawaii and Rhode Island were excluded because their state health departments operate on behalf of local public health and have no sub-state units.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

To obtain the Public-Use Version of the Data, users must submit a data request form (user agreement) which is provided together with the technical documentation for this study. Submission instructions are included on the form.

More information about this study can be found on the NACCHO Web site,


Sample:    The survey attempted to interview all LHDs in the United States.

Response Rates:    The study had a response rate of 83 percent, or 2,332 of 2,794 LHDs in the United States.


Original ICPSR Release:   2010-05-05

Version History:

  • 2014-07-02 The Public-Use Data Agreement has been revised.

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