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Health Indicator Report of Health Care Access - Primary Care Physicians Compared to Population Size

The number in the population for every primary care provider represents the number of persons a single primary care provider is required to serve. Lower numbers represent better access to primary care. The federal government uses this metric as one of the considerations for a county to be designated a "health professional shortage area," or HPSA. The threshold for the population to provider ratio is 3,500 to 1 (3,000 to 1 if there are unusually high needs in the community). In other words, it is desirable for a county to maintain a ratio under 3,500.

Primary Care Providers per 1,000 Population, by County, New Mexico, 2016


A ratio of approximately 1.7 is the current benchmark for total primary care providers per 1,000 population.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Health Care Workforce Committee, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
  • Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,

Data Interpretation Issues

Primary care provider includes all medical doctors (MDs), doctors of osteopathy (DOs), certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and physician assistants (PAs) who specialize in family practice, family medicine, general practice, general pediatrics or general internal medicine. Estimates of the number of practitioners working in each county were generated by linking licensure data and license renewal survey responses. This combined methodology solves many of the limitations of relying on either type of data alone. Licensure data alone do not allow accurate estimates of state- and county-level practice locations. Practitioners may maintain licensure in more than one state, and may register their license at addresses other than their practice locations.


The number of primary care providers per 1,000 persons in the population.


Number of primary care providers.


Number of persons in the population.

Healthy People Objective: AHS-4, (Developmental) Increase the number of practicing primary care providers

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

Other Objectives

New Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)
Page Content Updated On 01/30/2019, Published on 01/30/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 24 October 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 17:43:06 MST