Active doctors of medicine in patient care in the U.S. 1975-2015

In 2015, there were approximately 827,260 active doctors of medicine in patient care in the United States. This is a substantial increase from 287,840 active doctors in patient care in the year 1975. The number of physicians in the U.S. differs by state and region and compensation varies depending on multiple factors.

Physicians by state

The states with the highest number of active physicians include California, New York, Texas, and Florida. In 2019, there were around 112,900 active physicians in the state of California. However, the states with the highest number of physicians in patient care per 10,000 population include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland.

Physician compensation

Physicians are known to be well paid, but annual compensation depends on the specialty and location, among other factors. The physician specialties with the highest annual compensation are orthopedics, plastic surgery, and otolaryngology. The states in which physicians can be expected to earn the highest annual compensation are Oklahoma, Alabama, and Nevada, with the average annual compensation for physicians in Oklahoma around 337,000 dollars.

Active doctors of medicine in patient care in the U.S. from 1975 to 2015*

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Release date

September 2018


United States

Survey time period

1975 to 2015

Supplementary notes

* Specialty information is based on the physician’s self-designated primary area of practice. Categories include generalists and specialists. Starting with 2003 data, estimates include federal and nonfederal doctors of medicine. Prior to 2003, estimates were for nonfederal doctors of medicine only. See Health, United States, 2004, Table 103 for data on federal doctors of medicine.
Values not included in the pdf version of "Health, United States" were taken from the trend tables.

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Statistics on "Physicians in the U.S."

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