According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 22 million people work in healthcare and social services, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the healthcare industry will add 2.6 million new jobs by 2030.
Even before the pandemic, an aging population, ever-increasing lifespans and greater demand for healthcare services positioned the medical field as one of America’s biggest businesses.
It’s a bigger business in some cities more than in others, though
There are many factors to consider if you’re choosing a place to live based on the career you want to pursue, and if that career involves the fields of healthcare or medicine, America is packed with great places to live and work. The following five cities stand out from the rest as locations with healthcare industries that play an outsized role in the local economy and culture.
If you’re considering joining America’s massive medical sector, add these cities to your shortlist for where to make your potential new home.
In a conversation with Governing, author Gabriel Winant discussed how Pittsburgh transitioned “from hardhats to scrubs.” When Steel City’s blue-collar industry collapsed in the second half of the 20th century, its powerful union insurance programs helped it pivot to an economy based on healthcare, and today, Pittsburgh is a medical boom town.
This is especially true for anyone considering a career in life sciences.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, city leaders have spent the entire 21st century courting biotech firms. Their efforts have drawn 155 life science startups to the city since 2000, and 62 companies have been formed there since 2015 alone.
When the pandemic hit, Pittsburgh was primed to play a key role. Investment dollars — and young, highly educated professionals — began flooding into the city’s peerless life sciences community in search of cures, careers and profits.
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According to EMS Now, Ohio is a national healthcare powerhouse. The state is home to 4,000 bioscience companies that employ 100,000 bioscience workers, and that’s not even counting the state’s healthcare providers.
Ohio boasts 13 nationally ranked hospitals and, according to the Ohio Hospital Association, 252 hospitals and 15 health systems. The state as a whole is No. 6 in the nation in healthcare jobs — its hospitals employ more than 251,000 people directly and support another 289,000 jobs in the state.
As the country’s No. 1 healthcare hub, Cleveland is at the heart of it all.
The Cleveland Clinic consistently ranks at or near the top of the list of the best hospitals in the country and the world and the city’s healthcare industry contributes $25.8 billion in economic impact. That’s more than one-quarter of the state’s combined $93.5 billion.
Providence, Rhode Island
According to the Boston Globe, virtually anyone pursuing a medical career would find a warm welcome in Providence for one reason that stands out above all the rest — desperation. The pandemic hit the healthcare system in America’s smallest state especially hard, and according to Newsweek, Rhode Island began the year defending a controversial decision to use COVID-positive staff over the healthcare workers it let go for failure to get vaccinated.
In Providence, hospitals, doctors’ offices, healthcare systems and nursing homes are grossly understaffed. According to the Boston Globe, Women & Infants Hospital, Butler Hospital, Care New England Health System, and Lifespan Health System are struggling to fill thousands of open positions, relying on expensive temporary workers and overtime pay to stay afloat.
The cliche about everything being bigger in Texas holds true when it comes to the state’s massive medical industry, especially in Houston. The city is home to the largest medical complex in the world.
Houston’s Texas Medical Center is the biggest on Earth in terms of square footage, patient volume, number of physicians and number of hospitals. Its 63 member institutions consistently rank among the top universities and hospitals in the world.
In total, Houston employs more than 376,000 healthcare workers, about one in eight of the city’s employees.
In February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on an enormous initiative that combined Atlanta’s massive tech, corporate, higher education and healthcare resources to form a world-class medical program that would serve as a model for the future of healthcare. Called Global Health ATL, it was modeled after the city’s successful Technology Square program, which used Atlanta’s enviable research talent to lure 15 Fortune 500 companies to Atlanta’s downtown.
Today, anyone considering a career in medicine should consider Atlanta. The city is home to world-renowned medical organizations like the American Cancer Society, the CDC, The Carter Center, CARE and the Task Force for Global Health. Its research institutions include Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory. In total, Atlanta’s combined health systems reach 154 countries through 65 global health organizations and 1,388 programs.
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