Actively Licensed Physicians Up 12%

John Commins, July 20, 2017

In the past six years, the actively licensed U.S. physician-to-population ratio increased from 277 physicians per 100,000-population to 295 physicians per 100,000-population.

Female physicians account for more than one-third of the nearly 1 million licensed physicians in the United States, according to a biennial census by the Federation of State Medical Boards.

The “2016 Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States” said that there were 953,695 actively licensed physicians in the United States in 2016, up from 850,085 in 2010, an increase of 12%. In that time, the actively licensed U.S. physician-to-population ratio increased from 277 physicians per 100,000-population to 295 physicians per 100,000-population, the census found.

“Many parts of our country are feeling the effects of an increasing physician shortage,” said Gregory B. Snyder, MD, chair of the FSMB Board of Directors. “The wealth of data that this census provides can play a significant role in understanding the needs of our health care workforce and help to identify areas in which we can innovate and expand access to care.”

The census also found that:

  • The number of actively licensed physicians who are Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine increased by 39% between 2010 and 2016, compared with a 10% increase in the number of Medical Doctors during the same time period.
     
  • Female physicians now account for one-third of all actively licensed physicians. In 2010, 30% were female, rising to 34% in 2016.
     
  • The number of U.S. citizens who graduated from Caribbean medical schools increased by 95% since 2010. In 2010, there were 11,037 actively licensed physicians who were U.S. citizen Caribbean medical graduates and in 2016 there are 21,519.

The biennial census was first conducted in 2010, and again in 2012 and 2014.

The nonprofit Federation of State Medical Boards represents all medical boards in the United States and its territories that license and discipline allopathic and osteopathic physicians and other healthcare professionals.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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