The best—and worst—towns to practice medicine in 2014

Check out Raleigh, avoid Los Angeles

Medscape Medical News recently revealed its 2014 list of the best—and worst—places to practice medicine in the United States, which accounts for quality of life factors inside and outside the office.

For its third annual list, Medscape researchers divided the country into six regions and evaluated cities in those regions based on various factors of life and practice quality, including cost of living, tax burden, physician density, competition, and malpractice claims per capita. Researchers drew on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tax Foundation, the Federation of State Medical Boards, and other organizations.

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The best places to practice medicine

Using its regional evaluations, Medscape ranked the best cities to practice medicine by region and by city size. The best big cities in each region to practice medicine are:

  • West and Northwest: Tri-Cities, Washington (includes Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland)
  • Southwest and South Central: San Antonio, Texas
  • Great Lakes and North Central: Indianapolis,
  • Northeast: Boston
  • Mid-Atlantic: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Southeast: Nashville, Tennessee

The best small towns in each region to practice medicine in are:

  • West and Northwest: Douglas, Wyoming
  • Southwest and South Central: Tyler, Texas
  • Great Lakes and North Central: Duluth, Minnesota
  • Northeast: Merrimack, New Hampshire
  • Mid-Atlantic: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Southeast: LaGrange, Georgia

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According to Medscape Medical News, all the best cities for practicing medicine in have a low cost of

living, as well as other amenities that make the cities ideal for raising children, outdoor activities, and collaborating on medical research.

For example, Indianapolis boasts headquarters for drugmaker Eli Lilly, insurer WellPoint, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Indiana University Medical Center. Boston, likewise, is a hub for clinical research, with nearby Harvard, Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women's, and Beth Israel Deaconess.

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The worst places to practice medicine

According to Medscape, the worst cities in each region to practice medicine are:

  • West and Northwest:  Los Angeles
  • Southwest and South Central: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Great Lakes and North Central: Detroit
  • Northeast: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Mid-Atlantic: Washington, D.C.
  • Southeast: Miami (Reese, Medscape Medical News, 5/14; Kane, Medscape Medical News, 5/14).

Where should you live?

Check out some our recent coverage on state rankings:

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