WalletHub ranks the best and worst states to be a doctor

Mississippi ranked first, while Washington, D.C., ranked last

WalletHub this week released its ranking of the best and worst states for physicians based on several metrics, including wages and job opportunities.

For the report, WalletHub rated all states and Washington, D.C., on 11 metrics from two categories:

  • Opportunity and competition, worth 70 percent of the ranking, encompassing data such as the insured population rate and physicians' monthly average starting salary, adjusted for cost of living; and
  • Medical quality, worth 30 percent of the ranking, encompassing data such as malpractice liability insurance rates and malpractice payouts.

Within each category, metrics were weighted to prioritize certain characteristics. In the "opportunity and competition" bucket, for instance, the most important factor was physicians' mean annual wage, while the "medical quality" bucket was evenly divided between several malpractice-related data points.

WalletHub used information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Diederich Healthcare, HHS, the Missouri Economic Research & Information Center, and Citizen.org.

Based on those categories, WalletHub identified the five best states for doctors as:

  1. Mississippi;
  2. Iowa;
  3. Minnesota;
  4. North Dakota; and
  5. Texas.

See last year's rankings

Meanwhile, the worst were:

  1. Connecticut;
  2. Maryland;
  3. Rhode Island;
  4. New York; and
  5. Washington, D.C.

In the report, Mark Dame, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, says states can attract more primary care physicians by "invest[ing] in bright students at the time of undergraduate studies and bring[ing] these future graduates home."

Holly Mattix-Kramer, associate professor at Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine, adds that a community can attract primary care physicians by "demonstrat[ing] support for physician and public health." She adds that "lifestyle, school quality, and pay will always be issues for all physicians" (Kiernan, WalletHub, 3/28; Hubbard, The Tennessean, 3/28; Furr, Houston Business Journal, 3/28).

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