Vitals Ranks America’s Top Cities for Access to Pediatric Care

Texas and California Cities Have Worst Patient-Reported Pediatric Care

See the related infographic.

LYNDHURST, NJ – September 2, 2014 – When kids are sick, parents want the best care possible – and quick! To find out which cities have access to the best pediatric care, the Vitals Index looked at the top 200 metros in the country.

The study revealed that while large metropolises have high under-18 patient to pediatrician ratios, mid-sized cities scored better in categories such as access and quality. Grand Rapids, Michigan ranked #1 on the debut list, followed by Salt Lake City, Utah, #2, and Aurora, Colorado, #3.

To create the list of America’s Top Cities for Access to Pediatric Care, Vitals analyzed the number of pediatricians available in each city on a per-capita basis for their under-18 population. Patient-reported metrics such as pediatrician ratings, ease in getting an appointment and wait times were also calculated into the final rankings.

Eight of the bottom ten cities were in Texas and California. Both states have high numbers of immigrants crossing their borders.  The current increase in refugees is expected to tax an already strained pediatric care system there. All of the cities ranked in the bottom had under-18 populations higher than the national average of 23.3 percent.

Under-18 Patient to Pediatrician Ratio


City State # Children Ped# Per Capita for Children
Fort Lauderdale Florida 30,340 660 46:1
Hialeah Florida 44,578 879 51:1
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 49,852 822 61:1
Cincinnati Ohio 65,751 977 67:1
St. Louis Missouri 67,504 977 69:1


Peoria Arizona 42,274 18 2,349:1
Ontario California 50,585 20 2,529:1
Grand Prairie Texas 55,928 21 2,663:1
North Las Vegas Nevada 71,693 26 2,757:1
West Valley City Utah 44,081 9 4,898:1

Disparities in the number of pediatricians correlated to wait time. In some of the top-ranked cities, pediatricians were able to keep wait times under 15 minutes. (The national average is 20 minutes, 16 seconds.) Meanwhile, children from the worst ranked cities are waiting more than one half-hour.

“Doctor shortages are being seen everywhere, but it’s disheartening when there’s a lack of access to quality care for children,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “The rise of alternative care facilities, like urgent care and retail clinics, along with more nurse practitioners and doctor assistants stepping will hopefully bring affordable quality care options to children in areas where it most needed.”

The cities ranked highest on America’s Top Cities for Access to Pediatric Care include:

City State FINAL SCORE Rank
Grand Rapids Michigan 70 1
Salt Lake City Utah 84 2
Aurora Colorado 93 3
Des Moines Iowa 100 4
Cincinnati Ohio 102 5
Rochester New York 104 6
Milwaukee Wisconsin 116 7
Lexington Kentucky 118 8
Vancouver Washington 125 9
Sterling Heights Michigan 129 10

To see the full list of city rankings, go to our blog.

About Vitals

Vitals is reinventing the way people choose doctors and medical facilities. We provide increased transparency to cost, quality and access information to support effective decision making. Vitals brings together actionable data, online tools and an engaging consumer experience that empowers consumers to make more informed, higher-quality and lower-cost health care decisions.  Through health plans, hospitals and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 150 million people each year access information for better, more affordable care. The Vitals Index is an ongoing report about the state of doctor-patient relationships based on proprietary data and surveys.


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