Tops U.S. Ranks of Registered Nurses
While California Trails Rest of
Nation, According to UAlbany's
Center for Health Workforce Studies
Massachusetts Has Highest Number of Physicians; New York First in Home Health Aides
Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150
ALBANY, N.Y. (November 15, 2006) -- As the nation confronts a shortage of nurses that is predicted to grow with the retirement of baby boomers, a new report by the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany's School of Public Health finds that New Hampshire has the most registered nurses (RNs) per capita in the United States, with 1,283 RNs per 100,000 population. California has more than 200,000 actively practicing RNs, the most of any state, but has the fewest RNs per capita (588). The report, The United States Health Workforce Profile, details the supply, distribution, and education of health personnel in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using data from 2004. The report provides a description of the country's health workforce at state, regional, and national levels. The profile also includes information on health status indicators and health care employment by setting.
"The success of the health care system in the United States depends on qualified personnel to provide needed health care services," said Jean Moore, director of Center and one of the authors of the study. "Access to care, quality of care, and costs of care are all affected by the availability of properly educated and trained workers. Our goal with this report is to present a wide array of data on the health workforce to help state planners and policy makers better understand and address critical health workforce issues."
Some of the key findings of the report include:
Registered Nurses: New Hampshire had the most RNs per capita with 1,283 per 100,000 population. South Dakota, North Dakota, Massachusetts, and Maine completed the top five. California had more than 200,000 actively practicing RNs, the most of any state, but had the fewest RNs per capita in the nation (588).
Physicians: Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York led the nation in physicians per capita. Mississippi, Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, and Texas had the fewest doctors per 100,000 population. Massachusetts (303 per 100,000 population), had a nearly 50 percent higher ratio of physicians than the national average and nearly double the ratio of Mississippi (157).
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs): Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Tennessee led the nation in LPNs per capita, while Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Maryland, and California had the fewest. Hispanics/Latinos were substantially underrepresented in nursing, comprising only 3.2 percent of LPNs (and 6.1 percent of RNs).
Physician Assistants (PAs): The nation's 50,000 PAs were most heavily concentrated in the Northeast, but Alaska and South Dakota had the most PAs per capita, and Mississippi and Arkansas had the fewest. The number of PA degrees awarded rose 1,700 percent in the last decade.
Social Workers: Maine, Delaware, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were the top five states for social workers per capita. Rhode Island, Kentucky, Washington, Idaho, and Texas had the fewest.
Home Health Aides: New York had the highest rate of home health aides per capita in the country, more than seven times the rate in Georgia, which had the lowest. With more than 624,000 home health aides, this group comprised one of the largest health occupations in the nation (212 per 100,000 population).
The Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany's School of Public Health conducts studies of the supply, demand, use, and education of the health workforce, and collects and analyzes data to better understand workforce dynamics and trends. For more information, visit the Center for Health Workforce Studies.
Through its partnership with the New York State Dept. of Health, UAlbany's School of Public Health offers students immediate access to internships at the Health Department, Albany Medical College, and variety of other public and private health institutions throughout New York. Students have unique access to study the most profound health issues facing us today: the threat of bioterrorism, the spread of HIV/AIDS and other emerging diseases, the lack of affordable and accessible health care for individuals and families, environmental hazards, substance abuse and social violence, maternal mortality in developing countries, the promises and threats of genetic engineering, and protecting food and water supplies. For more information, visit the School of Public Health.