Access to emergency medical facilities is remarkably better in some regions than in others. For example, there are no cities or towns of 1,000 people or more in the Midwest that are more than 37 miles from a hospital. In the Northeast, no towns are more than 25 miles from a hospital.
Meanwhile, in the South, several towns are more than 40 miles from a hospital and one is over 70 miles from the nearest hospital. Similarly, a number of western states have towns over 50 miles from a hospital. There are eight towns in Alaska where the nearest hospital is anywhere from 100 to 470 miles away.
Landmass and population density largely explain the regional disparity, as northeastern states, where distances to the nearest hospital are the shortest, tend to be smaller by landmass than those in the West, where distances can be much larger.
Not only are residents of the towns on this list at risk due to being far from a hospital, but often a larger share of their population is more likely to need urgent medical care. For example, older Americans are at increased risk of chronic and potentially deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The vast majority of cities and towns on this list are home to a larger share of residents 65 or older than the 15.2% national share.
Additionally, residents of the towns on this list are less likely to be able to afford necessary medical treatment than the typical American as most have a higher uninsured rate than the U.S. rate as a whole.
To identify the town farthest from a hospital in every state, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 15,000 cities, towns, boroughs, villages, and census designated places with more than 1,000 people from the U.S. Census Bureau. We measured the distance in a straight line from the latitudinal and longitudinal geographic center of each place to the coordinates of the nearest hospital, including those in other states.
Uninsured rates and the share of the population age 65 and older are five-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey.