April 27, 2017

Map: Where doctors earn the most—and the least

Daily Briefing

    A new report sheds light on where doctors make the most—and the least—across 50 major metropolitan areas. 

    For the new report, Doximity, a social network for physicians and advanced practice clinicians, surveyed more than 36,000 full-time licensed U.S. physicians who work at least 40 hours a week. The survey relied on data pulled between 2014 and 2017. The researchers selected 50 major metropolitan areas with the most respondents in their data set.

    Variation in physician pay across 50 major metropolitan areas

    The researchers found that physician salaries tend to be higher in rural and lower-cost areas than in urban and higher-cost ones. Lead report author Chris Whaley, a researcher at RAND, said, "More desirable locations to live or areas that are located near major medical schools had lower compensation." 

    The five cities where physicians make the most, in terms of annual salary are:

    • Charlotte, North Carolina ($359,455);
    • Bridgeport, Connecticut ($353,925);
    • Phoenix ($351,677);
    • Milwaukee ($345,831); and
    • Houston ($345,079).

    By contrast, the five cities where physicians make the least, in terms of annual salary are:

    • Durham, North Carolina ($267,598);
    • Ann Arbor, Michigan ($272,398);
    • Baltimore ($281,005);
    • Charleston, South Carolina ($285,933); and
    • Washington, D.C. ($286,242).

    Gender disparity

    The report also highlighted a gender gap in physician payment, which undercut female physician salaries in every city surveyed.

    Overall, the average salary for female physicians is highest in Minneapolis, at $290,747, and lowest in Durham, North Carolina at $205,635. But nationwide, female physicians' annual salaries average $91,284—or 26 percent—less than male physicians.

    What's it like to be a woman in medicine? Two new studies shed light

    When broken down by metro areas included in the report, the gender wage gap was greatest in Charlotte, North Carolina, with female physicians making an average of $125,035 less than their male counterparts, a difference of about 33 percent. The gender wage gap was lowest in Sacramento, California, with female physicians making an average of $63,283 less than male physicians, a difference of about 19 percent.

    The pay gap was also present within every specialty examined, according to the survey. For instance, on average, female cardiologists make 18 percent less than their male peers and female vascular surgeons makes 20 percent less.

    According to STAT News, the research "adds to a growing body of research on the extent of [the gender] disparities." Whalen said, "There are obvious implications here in terms of being able to attract and retain high-quality physicians," adding, "More importantly, there's an equity and fairness issue" (Doximity release, 4/26; Doximity report, April 2017; Ross, STAT News, 4/26; Mitchell, WKTV, 4/26).

    Build physician support for your compensation plans

    Your compensation plan should serve as a bridge between individual physician performance and health system goals. Here are nine ways to build physician support for compensation redesign.

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