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The 10 States with the Most Patients Awaiting Transplants


April is National Donate Life Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the need for organ donors. Surely no one is more acutely aware of the need for organ donation than physicians and the patients awaiting transplants. These states have the greatest need, on a per capita basis.

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April is National Donate Life Month, a month set aside to raise awareness about the need for organ donors. Surely no one is more acutely aware of the need for organ donation than physicians and the patients awaiting transplants.

According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, some 123,193 patients were organ donation candidates as of Friday. A candidate is defined in this instance as someone awaiting a transplanted organ or organs. Thus, the list counts people in need of multiple organs as one candidate.

While well over 100,000 patients need new organs, only 29,531 transplants were performed in the US last year, a number that has held relatively stable for the past decade.

The vast majority of candidates on the waiting list (101,662) are in need of a kidney. Liver transplant candidates come next, with 15,294 on the list awaiting liver donations.

OPTN has a large database of easily sortable data. We decided to use the list to ascertain which states had the greatest need on a per capita basis. The 10 states with the most organ donation candidates per capita are listed below, along with the number of transplants performed in that state last year, and breakouts of the need for kidney and liver donations in the state.

The candidate data are current as of last week. The transplant numbers are from 2014. The population data used to calculate the per capita rates is based on the July 2014 population estimates of the US Census Bureau.

Note: Data were not available for 4 states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Data were available for DC, but the district is not included in this list. Were DC included, it would have risen to the top of the list, as the city has 1 person on the candidate registry for every 436 residents.

10. Texas

Austin, Texas

1 per 2,329 residents

Total Candidates: 11,574

Transplants Performed in 2014: 2,626

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 9,472

Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,634

9. Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts

1 per 2,107 residents

Total Candidates: 3,201

Transplants Performed in 2014: 796

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,167

Liver Candidates Waiting: 685

8. Georgia

Macon, Georgia

1 per 1,994 residents

Total Candidates: 5,064

Transplants Performed in 2014: 817

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 4,639

Liver Candidates Waiting: 375

7. Colorado

Denver, Colorado

1 per 1,980 residents

Total Candidates: 2,705

Transplants Performed in 2014: 421

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 1,920

Liver Candidates Waiting: 716

6. New York

Buffalo, New York

1 per 1,932 residents

Total Candidates: 10,218

Transplants Performed in 2014: 1,826

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 8,477

Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,217

5. California

San Diego, California

1 per 1,761 residents

Total Candidates: 22,035

Transplants Performed in 2014: 3,454

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 18,637

Liver Candidates Waiting: 2,900

4. Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

1 per 1,701 residents

Total Candidates: 3,208

Transplants Performed in 2014: 746

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,371

Liver Candidates Waiting: 513

3. Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

1 per 1,658 residents

Total Candidates: 3,604

Transplants Performed in 2014: 805

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 2,720

Liver Candidates Waiting: 817

2. Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 per 1,505 residents

Total Candidates: 8,495

Transplants Performed in 2014: 1,803

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 6,768

Liver Candidates Waiting: 1,195

1. Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

1 per 1,315 residents

Total Candidates: 3,689

Transplants Performed in 2014: 401

Kidney Candidates Waiting: 3,485

Liver Candidates Waiting: 132

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