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America's Health Care Economy

Aug 01, 2003

Ross DeVol and Rob Koepp


This study examines the potential impact of the growing health-care sector. The study examines more than 300 metropolitan areas as well as all 50 states to quantify the importance of this sector to regional, state and U.S. economies.  According to the authors, cities and regions with the greatest health-care resources could be big economic winners in the decades ahead. Why? People are living longer, the elderly population is growing, and demands for better health care are pushing new innovations in medicine. That makes for vibrant local economies, according to this report.

Applying mathematical models used in the Institute's 1999 groundbreaking study, America's High-Tech Economy, Milken Institute researchers examined employment in 13 health-care industries, from hospitals, drugs and medical supplies to health insurance and medical research.

The heart of the study is the Milken Institute's list of the Top 20 Metro Health Poles, which ranks metropolitan regions based on the concentration of health-care employment in their economy and as a share of U.S. health-care employment.

Key insights:

  • America's Health Care Economy ranks Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles at the top of the list. Each has a major stake in health care, from hospitals to pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, which pump millions of dollars into their local economies and provide tens of thousands of jobs.
  • Health-care consumption in the U.S. has doubled since 1970, from 7 percent of GDP to 14 percent. It is expected to reach 17 percent by 2011 as the country's senior population grows.

View Health Pole ranking of all 317 metros.

View state rankings.

View slide presentation.