What Area of the US has the Highest Demand for Nurses?

Demand for nurses in the United States is high and is expected to continue growing, but some states are more in need of these professionals than other states. When evaluating which states are have the greatest need, there are many factors to take into consideration, such as the average age of citizens, the economy and the affordability and number of nursing schools.  Here we will look at three states with a need for nurses:  Arkansas, Nevada, and Alaska.


Large cities attract nurses because there are more hospitals, clinics, and nursing options. Rural areas, however, tend to have a harder time finding qualified employees. While Arkansas has an average population density, it actually has a higher need for nurses than other states. This is because population density doesn’t tell the whole story. Many states with smaller populations have a fairly similar population density throughout the state. Arkansas, on the other hand, has mountainous areas where very few people live and many of these areas cannot support hospitals or full-time clinics. Therefore, there is a need for nurses and doctors to travel to these areas to provide treatment. As the population of these areas ages, the need for nurses willing to work in these area is more important than ever.


Nevada is tied with Utah for the lowest location quotient of registered nurses in the United States. The location quotient is an economic indicator showing industry concentration in an area compared to the nationwide average.  The Bureau of Labor website shows Nevada and Utah have a location quotient of 0.74 for registered nurses, the lowest in the US.  This means the area has less nurses than is normal for its population. With many elderly people moving to Nevada and only 14.89 nurses per 1,000 people, nurses shouldn’t have trouble finding a job in Nevada.


Alaska has the lowest population density of any state in the United States, and with that, a shortage of nurses. With a smaller population, it makes sense that there are not many traditional nursing programs available to students in Alaska. Instead of training nursing students who are already Alaskan residents, many hospitals have to rely on nurses from other states who are willing to relocate. However, because of the cold weather, extreme changes in daylight hours, cost of living and predominantly rural wilderness landscape, many nurses are unwilling to relocate to the state. With the increase of online nursing degree programs, Alaskan residents can complete their degree and practical experience locally.  While this can help fill the gap in the nursing industry, there will still be a need for nurses willing to relocate.

No matter what state you live in, there are job openings for nurses. If you want an even better chance of landing a job, though, try looking for work in a state with a high demand for nurses, such as Arkansas, Nevada or Alaska.