To make informed decisions about allocation of resources between state hospitals and community services, it is necessary to have comparable data on patients being served in both kinds of settings. Using a random sample of 611 severely impaired young adult patients with major mental illnesses, a study in Missouri compared those who were treated in state-operated facilities with those treated in private, not-for-profit community mental health centers that received state funds. A major finding was that young adult patients were more likely to be treated in a state-operated facility, and that 89 percent of inpatient admissions of this group were made to state-operated facilities. Compared with patients seen in the centers, those served by state facilities were more likely to have histories of arrests or violence, to be minority-group members, to be poor or unemployed, to have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and to come from more urbanized areas. Of the 26 percent of the sample defined as chronic patients, 73 percent were treated at state-operated facilities.