Census Bureau Database to Provide Better Context on Retail Clinics Market

Census Bureau Database to Provide Better Context on Retail Clinics Market. A map of the United States with a pie graph and a bar graph on top of it.

The rise of retail health clinics (RHCs) has accelerated in recent years, but getting a firm handle on the overall scope of this market has been difficult with so many new locations coming online every year. A new database created by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Enhancing Health (EHealth) Data Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) aims to bring context to what’s happening in this space.

The Linked Retail Health Clinics database, part of the EHealth program, is the first step in a multiphase collaboration to identify RHC locations. The initial report examines data from 2018 to 2020. Among the findings:

  • More than 2,000 RHCs in the U.S. provided convenient health services inside pharmacies, grocery and supercenter retailers, with about 97% located in metropolitan areas (defined as having at least one urban area with a population of at least 50,000 rather than in densely populated areas).
  • 950 of these RHCs are in the South. The South Atlantic region had the largest number of RHCs at 550 locations.
  • NCHS reports that in 2019 one in four children and nearly three in 10 adults visited an RHC or urgent care center.

The database will help develop an understanding of the business characteristics among retailers with RHCs and other sources of health care such as physicians, urgent care centers and emergency departments near RHCs.

Retail health clinics by U.S. Census region, 2018–2020. 2,00+: Number of retail health clinics in the U.S. 950: Number of retail health clinics in the South. 1 in 4: Number of children who visited an RHC or urgent care clinic. 3 in 10: Number of adults who visited an RHC or urgent care clinic.  Source: U.S. Census Bureau report, 2023.

The actual number of RHCs in the U.S. today is clearly far more than 2,000. A MarkWide research report published in December pegged the number at more than 3,000 and noted that between 2023 and 2030 the compound annual growth rate will expand by 9.9%. The rise in the millennial population, the growing number of retail clinics and the rise in the proportion of working women will be key drivers in this growth, the report states.

CVS Health alone has more than 930 HealthHub locations in the U.S. Walgreens Boots Alliance, through its investments in and partnership with VillageMD, has about 680 locations in 26 U.S. markets. Other retailers such as Walmart and Rite-Aid also have been actively adding RHCs.

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