Does your state have enough hospital beds for COVID-19 patients? These 10 are in bad shape

Japan and South Korea have 6 times more available beds.

Does your state have enough hospital beds for COVID-19 patients? These 10 are in bad shape
[Photo: Al Aumuller/Library of Congress]

Does your state have enough hospital beds? Probably not! Bed numbers are rather dire, and explain precisely why social distancing measures are in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.


You can find your state and see a U.S. map of hospital beds per capita here, based on 2018 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Western states often have fewer beds, which some account to climate and lifestyle. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this was sometimes a point of pride.

The states with the lowest numbers of staffed hospital beds per thousand people are:

  1. Oregon, 1.6
  2. Washington, 1.7
  3. New Mexico, 1.8
  4. Utah, 1.8
  5. California, 1.8
  6. Colorado, 1.9
  7. Maryland, 1.9
  8. Arizona, 1.9
  9. Hawaii, 1.9
  10. Idaho, 1.9

To put this in context, Japan, South Korea, and Monaco all have 13 beds per 1,000 people. Germany has 8, and France 6.5.

Keep in mind that roughly two thirds of these beds are typically occupied, and that the United States is known for filling hospital beds with people with chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma who could not access preventative treatments. Yep, we’re #*%@’d.

The U.S. states with the most hospital beds per 1,000 people are:

50. South Dakota, 4.8
49. District of Columbia, 4.4
48. North Dakota, 4.3
47. Mississippi, 4.0
46. West Virginia, 3.8


New York ranks 31st among the states, at 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 people; Governor Andrew Cuomo bluntly says that both New York and the country will fall far short of needed beds for COVID-19.

U.S. hospital bed numbers have been sinking. In 1999, the U.S. had 3.0 beds per 1,000 people; that average has since dropped to 2.4 beds per 1,000 people.