Sustainable Development Goals - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Indicator 3.c.1: Health worker density and distribution

US health care workers per 1000 population


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This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from US statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from US statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other US-specific metadata information.

Actual indicator available Number of health workers per 1000 population and by metropolitan status
Actual indicator available - description Health care workers include active physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and advance practice nurse midwives.
Date of national source publication July 2016
Method of computation Number of health workers by cadre / Total population Method of measurement National database or registry of health workers, preferably at individual level. Method of estimation If there is a national database or registry, there should be regular assessment of completeness using census data, professional association registers, facility censuses, etc. Health worker concentration: percentage of all health workers working in urban areas divided by percentage of total population in urban areas.
Periodicity Annual
Scheduled update by national source July 2017
U.S. method of computation Data are derived from several data sources. Physician information is from the American Medical Association Physician Master file. Physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioner,clinical nurse specialist,certified registered nurse anesthetists, and advance practice nurse midwife data are from the Centers from Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) National Provider Identification (NPI) File. The Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandated the adoption of standard unique identifiers for health care providers and health plans. The NPI is a unique identifier developed by CMS. Covered health care providers and all health plans and health care clearinghouses must use the NPIs in the administrative and financial transactions adopted under HIPAA. 2010 Population information is from 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, U.S. Census Bureau and 2011-2014 Population Estimates are from the Bureau of the Census and include the calculated number of people living in an area as of July 1. The estimated population is calculated from a components of change model that incorporates information on natural change (births, deaths) and net migration (net internal migration, net international migration) that has occurred in an area since a Census 2000 reference date for 2001-2009 estimates and Census 2010 for 2011-2014 estimates. 2013 metro/non-metro information is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) website:
Comments and limitations Metro/non-metro indicator and population data are obtained from AHRF.
Date metadata updated December 2016
Disaggregation geography National and by metro status
Unit of measurement Number of health care workers (per 1000 population)
Disaggregation categories
International and national references
Time period
Scheduled update by SDG team

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name Health worker density and distribution
Target name Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States.
Global indicator description Number of health workers per 1000 population.
UN designated tier 1
UN custodial agency WHO
Link to UN metadata Link opens in a new window
Organisation NCHWA/HRSA/AHRF
Agency Staff Name Joanna Yoon
Agency Survey Dataset NCHWA/HRSA/AHRF
Link to data source opens in a new window

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