New data shows physician shortage magnified in Southern States: 9 key findings

While the median number of active physicians per 100,000 population has increased between 2008 and 2014, distribution remains uneven nationally, according to biennial data on the physician workforce from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Additionally, AAMC notes there has been only a slight increase in the median number of active primary care physicians and general surgeons, and the percent of physicians age 60 and older is climbing — all factors that magnify the current physician shortage.

Here are nine key findings from the report on the current physician shortage.

  • The U.S. overall had 265.5 active physicians per 100,000 population.
  • Massachusetts had a high of 432.4 active physicians per 100,000 population, compared to Mississippi, which had a low of 184.7 active physicians per 100,000 population.
  • This reflects a more general national trend in the data that shows physicians are concentrated in the Northeast. Maryland, New York and Rhode Island followed Massachusetts in density of active physicians, while states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho are the most sparse following Mississippi.
  • On a national level in 2014, there were 91.1 active primary care physicians per 100,000 population.
  • Massachusetts led all states with 133.9 primary care physicians per 100,000 and Mississippi had the lowest, with just 64.5.
  • General surgeons numbered even fewer, at a rate of 7.9 per 100,000 population on a national level.
  • General surgeons are most highly concentrated in North Dakota, Maine and Vermont and most sparse in Utah, Nevada and Texas.
  • Nationally, about a third of active physicians were female in 2014. Utah had the lowest percentage of female physicians with 22.9 percent and Massachusetts had the highest with 39.9 percent.
  • More than one in four (29.4 percent) of active physicians in 2014 were age 60 or older. This ranged from 35.9 percent in New Mexico to 24.6 percent in North Carolina.

 

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