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Is O Negative a Rare Blood Type?

Tina Smith
January 24, 2020

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O-Negative Blood Type

People with O-negative blood often wonder how rare their blood is since it is always in demand by hospitals and blood centers. If you have O-negative blood, you have something in common with about 7 percent of the US population. Or to put it another way, about 1 in 15 people have O-negative blood. 

Is that rare? Only about 1 in 67 have B-negative blood, making it rarer. However, the rarest blood type in the world is Rh-null, which is so rare most of us have never heard of it. Fewer than 50 people in the entire world population are known to have Rh-null blood.

Is O-Negative Blood Rare? 

If O-negative isn’t that rare, why do blood centers and hospitals always need it?

O-negative blood is valuable because it can be transfused to anyone, regardless of their blood type. Hospitals need to have it on hand for emergencies. In addition, emergency services, including ambulances and helicopters, may also carry it to keep patients alive while they’re being transported to a hospital. 

When trauma victims need urgent treatment, there is seldom time to test their blood type, so O-negative blood is used. O-negative blood may not be the rarest blood type but may be critical to a victim’s survival in an emergency. 

What does this mean for those with O-negative blood?

If you have O-negative blood and are able to donate, we encourage you to do so. Not only will you help save lives, but you’ll also ensure there’s a good supply of O-negative available should you need blood. While having O-negative blood makes you a universal blood donor, it also means that if you need blood, you can only be transfused with O-negative blood

Interested in finding out what blood type you are?  
Don’t know your blood type? We’ll test your blood when you donate and let you know your type. 


Tina Smith

With a career in communications spanning two decades, Tina Smith is OneBlood’s content manager, taking care of the company’s website and intranet. Helping save lives through her work brings a sense of satisfaction that few jobs can offer.

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