Pharmacies were once quaint locations where people went for drugs and perhaps some household items. Today, many are located in huge stores and are the centerpieces of massive chains like CVS, Walmart, and Walgreen. They still, however, serve the same function. They are places where people get medicine, often prescribed by their doctors.
24/7 Tempo looked at pharmacies across America to find where they are concentrated. Presumably, the public is best served by easy access to medication. If so, pharmacy proximity is important.
Despite this, many Americans live in pharmacy deserts — even in major metropolises. A recent study showed that nearly 15 million people in America’s 30 largest cities don’t have convenient access to a pharmacy. A majority of those people are Black or Latino, a fact that highlights the racial disparities that exist in our current health care system.
To locate the county with the most pharmacies per capita, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study provided by digital health marketplace USA RX on pharmacies by state, using internal data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Only counties with populations of 25,000 or more were included. The percentage of population reporting sub-optimal health is from the 2021 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Perry, Kentucky, is the top county by this measure. Some details:
> Pharmacies per 10k residents: 7.38
> Total pharmacies: 19
> Population reporting sub-optimal health: 26.0% — #151 highest out of 2,830