Rationale: Several chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) studies have evaluated risk factors for emergency department (ED) visits or hospitalizations, and found insufficient data available about social and demographic factors that drive these behaviors. This U.S. study was designed to describe the characteristics of COPD patients with ED visits or a hospitalization and to investigate how often common COPD comorbidities are present in these individuals. Methods: Data for 7180 COPD patients regarding demographic factors, comorbidities, smoking status, and ED visits or hospitalization was obtained from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Logistic regression analysis was used to adjust demographic factors and smoking status to model the correlation between patients with ED visits or hospitalizations and morbidities generating odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI). Results: Among diagnosed COPD patients in the BRFSS, 16.5% had ED visits or hospitalization in the previous year. These individuals were younger, had a lower socio-economic status (lower education, lower income, and more often unemployed) and 23.4% of the individuals could not visit a doctor because of the financial difficulties compared to 16.7% who had no visit (p<0.0001 for all comparisons). The prevalence of comorbidities was higher in those with ED visits or hospitalization compared to those without. Conclusion: In a population representative of COPD patients, lower socio-economic status and higher comorbidities are associated with ED visits or hospitalization. Studies are needed to further elucidate the complex relationship between COPD, comorbidities, and ED visits or hospitalization.