Special Report

Cities With the Fewest Nurses

To identify the cities with the fewest nurses per capita, 24/7 Tempo calculated the number of registered nurses per 1,000 people in U.S. metropolitan statistical areas using 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) database and from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey (ACS). For reference, there are approximately 9.1 registered nurses for every 1,000 people in the United States.

Annual median wages for registered nurses and employment figures for respiratory therapists also came from the OES. We estimated the total number of health care workers in each MSA by adding employment totals for two broad occupations: health care practitioners and technical occupations, and health care support occupations. Registered nurses are classified under health care practitioners and technical occupations.

The percentage of each MSA’s population aged 65 and over came from The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Each MSA’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and confirmed COVID-19 deaths came from The New York Times and are as of April 5, 2020.

Data from the BLS on the number of registered nurses for 2019 is not available for the following 25 metro areas: Albany, GA, Bellingham, WA, Billings, MT, California-Lexington Park, MD, Corvallis, OR, Flagstaff, AZ, Fond du Lac, WI, Gainesville, GA, Glens Falls, NY, Grand Forks, ND-MN, Grand, Island, NE, Great Falls, MT, Hanford-Corcoran, CA, Harrisonburg, VA, Hattiesburg, MS, Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI, Kalamazoo-Portage, MI, Longview, WA, Madera, CA, Midland, MI, Muskegon, MI, Rochester, MN, Sebring, FL, Texarkana, TX-AR, Walla Walla, WA.