Abstract The objective of this study was to determine whether differences exist among distinct demographic groups’ tendencies to view various medical symptoms as emergent in nature. A questionnaire containing six demographic questions and listing 29 common medical complaints was distributed to 306 respondents who agreed to participate; they were asked to indicate when (if at all) they would be likely to seek medical care for each problem. Overall, across the series of complaints, African American respondents desired statistically significantly more acute care than Caucasians. Those with a high school education or lower also wanted to be seen statistically significantly sooner for more symptoms than those with some college education or higher. We conclude that opinions as to the urgency of medical symptoms vary widely among demographic groups.