Special Report

Cities With the Most Nurses

Hristina Byrnes

The current pandemic crisis overwhelming the world has demonstrated that some of the most essential workers — anywhere — are those employed in the health care industry. The United States public health care system has been severely strained. In many places around the country, health care workers are in supply.

In fact, nurses in some hospitals’ intensive care units are caring for five patients at a time, more than twice the number normal number of patients. Some cities, with considerably larger health care workforces, seem better prepared to fight the outbreak.

24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics to identify the metropolitan areas with the most nurses per capita in the United States.

There are 2.98 million registered nurses in the US, comprising about 2% of the workforce. Nurses are the fifth largest profession out of 789 detailed occupations tracked by the BLS.

Nationwide, there are about nine registered nurses per 1,000 people. In the 50 cities with the most nurses per capita, there are more than 13 nurses per 1,000 people. Seven cities have a ratio greater than 20 registered nurses per 1,000 residents. nurses per 1,000 people.

Hospitals all over the country are trying to prepare for what they expect to be an increasing number of people suffering from the new coronavirus and needing hospitalization There is an increasing demand for “travel nurses,” or nurses from other states, as positions in intensive care units and emergency rooms have opened all over the country. (These are the states with the fewest nurses.)

The biggest spikes in demand are in Massachusetts, Washington, California, New York, and New Jersey, which are among the states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases. Some of the cities with the most nurses per capita are in those states.

Along with nurses, there is a shortage of health care professionals with less familiar roles. They include those who help the sick breathe — respiratory therapists. These therapists operate the ventilators that are crucial for COVID-19 patients. There are about 134,000 respiratory therapists nationwide, compared to nearly 3 million registered nurses.

Click here to see the cities with the fewest nurses
Click here for our methodology