Statistics & Facts on U.S. Physicians/Doctors

In 2013, there were over one million doctors of medicine all over the United States. This figure included some 148,000 inactive and some 44,000 unclassified physicians. The U.S. has a less marked physician density compared to some other countries. Looking at individual U.S. states, Washington D.C., Massachusetts and Maryland have the highest number of physicians per civilian population. Among specialists, psychiatrists are the most prevalent physicians. Approximately one quarter of all active U.S. physicians were educated abroad.


Expenditure for physician and clinical services stood at some 600 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. Thus, such services accounted for one fifth of total U.S. healthcare spending. The largest proportion of costs for these services was paid via private health insurances, followed by Medicare payments.

Compensation for physicians is always a controversial issue, especially in times of economic crisis and growing health costs. Orthopedics and plastic surgeons include the highest-earning physicians. With some 489,000 and 440,000 U.S. dollars respectively, these specialists have the highest average annual compensation for patient care. The highest-paid physicians live in the north central part of the U.S., where the mean compensation stood at some 317,000 U.S. dollars as of early 2017.

In the U.S., a generalist physician receives more than 3,500 annual visits, while a specialist receives around 2,700 visits. According to a survey, the most frequently mentioned amount of time spent with each patient is within the range of 13 to 16 minutes. 70 percent of all general physicians provide more than 31 hours of direct patient care per week, and 40 percent have evening and weekend working hours. For specialists, these figures stand at 61 and 19 percent respectively. In general, the level of satisfaction of U.S. Americans with their physicians is very high.

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