NC Budget and Tax Center

N.C.’s public health investments lag behind population growth

This past Saturday concluded National Public Health Week 2019, which makes this a good time to revisit the level of investments that North Carolina leaders have made in public health and other areas that are known to affect health.

Last September, we highlighted the ways that public investments are tied to improved health outcomes. A growing body of research shows that funding for local health departments, in particular, is tied to fewer adverse outcomes and improved health, even when controlling for community differences in demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, and medical resources.

And yet, North Carolina lawmakers have agreed to spend fewer dollars on public health efforts in the state, even as the population has increased. Instead, investments should be made in strategies that are proven to help communities thrive, including in public health, in addition to other areas such as education and housing. Together, these cross-sector approaches help to build a culture of health that works to ensure that everyone can live in a healthy, thriving community.

Suzy Khachaturyan is a Policy Analyst with the Budget and Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center.

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