The Supply and Rural-Urban Distribution of the Obstetrical Care Workforce in the U.S.

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2018
Anticipated completion date:
March 2020

Access to obstetrical (OB) care in the rural U.S. has declined significantly in recent years, with OB care by family physicians dropping substantially. Accurate supply estimates of OB providers by urban and rural geography, with attention to variation within different types of rural areas, will allow us to identify gaps in available care for communities in rural America. The types and numbers of OB providers who care for rural vs. urban populations differ substantially by geography. Uneven distribution of the OB workforce may continue to create disparities in access to OB care, even affecting areas that contain ample supply of other types of healthcare services. This study will describe the supply and distribution of OB care providers in the rural U.S. at national, regional, and state levels.