The de Beaumont Foundation commissioned Morning Consult to survey and track awareness of public health departments, perceptions of their value, and public health priorities. Three nationally representative surveys of 2,200 adults each were conducted online during these periods: May 14-17, 2021, May 12-15, 2022, and May 11-14, 2023.

Since the start of the pandemic, Americans’ familiarity with their public health departments and local health officials has grown.

Compared with 2021 and 2022, more adults in 2023 said they are familiar with their local public health official and local public health department. Those who said they’re familiar also report having a more positive view of their public health official than that in previous years.

How familiar, if at all, would you say you are with each of the following? And, based on what you know, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of your local health official?


are familiar with their local public health department


are familiar with their local public health official


have a favorable opinion of their local public health official among those who are familiar

While some leaders have tried to politicize public health recommendations and pandemic mitigation measures, most people who are familiar with their local health official have a favorable view of them, and that crosses party lines.

% favorable opinion about their public health official by political party, 2023

As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes less top of mind, other health topics are taking center stage, and people are less likely to say that preventing future pandemics should be the top priority for public health departments.

The shared pandemic experience seems to have driven deeper familiarity with and support of public health departments and officials, as well as a deeper, more personal understanding of health as a function of both communities and individuals. As the pandemic recedes, that acknowledgment of population health is broadening to priority topics beyond infectious disease.

Which of the following should be the most important priority?

% who selected future pandemic prevention efforts as the most important priority

View public health trends, tools, and resources related to COVID-19.

Learn More

Adults are showing a deeper understanding of community health.

Increasingly, people are acknowledging how strongly systems-level factors affect individual health, including access to good health care services, environmental characteristics like clean air and water, and the neighborhood where a person lives.
Explore Public Health Reaching Across Sectors (PHRASES), a collection of resources to help communicate the impact, value, and core concepts of public health in language that resonates.

Learn More

Adults are more likely to say racial discrimination is a problem in the nation than in their own state or community.

How much of a problem, if at all, is racial discrimination in your local community, your state, and in the U.S.?


In your local community


In your state


In the United States

Compared with 2022, Americans are more likely to say racial discrimination is a problem in the nation than in their own state or community. The percentage who consider it a problem for them, their families and friends, and their local community is growing.
To learn more about how some communities are addressing systemic health and racial inequities through policy and practice change, explore Healing Through Policy.

Learn More

Americans say that racial discrimination influences their health outcomes, those of their friends and family, and those of their community; and most respondents said addressing racial disparities should be a priority for new public health funding.

67% of adults think addressing racial disparities in health care should be a priority for new public health funding, a consistent trend since 2021.

How much of an impact does racial discrimination have on health outcomes to the following groups?


For myself


Among my friends and family


In my local community

To learn more about how health data systems can be rooted in racist systems and assumptions, and ways in which they can be transformed and modernized, explore MADE for Health Justice.

Learn More