Section II: Current Status of the U.S. Physician Workforce

This section provides a brief overview of demographic and practice characteristics among physicians who graduated from U.S. M.D.-granting medical schools. Information on medical school applicants and graduates from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds was collected as early as 1950; however, similar information for white medical students and graduates was not collected systematically until 1974. Therefore, the number of white physicians currently in practice is underestimated.

In the review of these data, some interesting trends are worth noting. For instance, the U.S. physician workforce diversity remains constituent with prior years with  approximately 8.9 percent of physicians identify as black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino. However, these changes are not at the same pace with the nation’s demographic shift. Although blacks and African-Americans comprise 13 percent of the nation, they account for only 4 percent of the physician workforce.1
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Among Asians, blacks or African-Americans, and Hispanics or Latinos, women make up a greater percentage of younger physicians (age 29 and younger) compared to their male counterparts. In light of changing demographics of the U.S. population, if this trend continues, it suggests a shift in future years toward even greater percentages of women in the physician workforce.

In fact, this shift has already occurred among black or African-American physicians, which is the only racial or ethnic group currently comprising a greater percentage of women than men. This difference is even more apparent among medical school applicants where women comprise roughly two-thirds of black or African-American applicants.2

 

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Credit: SMDEP at University of Nebraska Medical Center

In the past three decades, there has been little growth among black or African-American medical school graduates. Nonetheless, minority-serving institutions continue to be the largest producers of black or African-American and Hispanic or Latino physicians. The two U.S. medical schools graduating the most black or African-American physicians from 1980 to 2012 were historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): Howard University and Meharry Medical College. And the three U.S. medical schools graduating the most Hispanic or Latino physicians during those years were Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) in Puerto Rico: The University of Puerto Rico, Universidad Central del Caribe, and Ponce.

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List of Figures

Figure 1: U.S. Physicians by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013
Figure 2: U.S. Physicians by Asian Subgroups and Sex, 2013
Figure 3: U.S. Physicians by Hispanic or Latino Subgroups and Sex, 2013
Figure 4: U.S. Physicians by Race, Ethnicity, and Age, 2013
Figure 5: Black or African-American Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013
Figure 6: Asian Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013
Figure 7: American Indian or Alaska Native Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013
Figure 8: Hispanic or Latino Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013
Figure 9: White Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013
Figure 10:U.S. Physicians by Graduation Year, Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 1980-2012
Figure 11: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 350 or More Black or African-American Physicians, 1980–2012
Figure 12: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 40 or More American Indian or Alaska Native Physicians, 1980–2012
Figure 13: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 400 or More Hispanic or Latino Physicians, 1980–2012
Figure 14: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 1,000 or More Asian Physicians, 1980–2012
Figure 15: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 4,300 or More White Physicians, 1980–2012
Figure 16: U.S. Physicians in Patient Care by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013
Figure 17: Primary Care vs. Non-Primary Care by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013


Figure 1: U.S. Physicians by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013

 

In 2013, out of the total U.S. MD active physicians, 4.1% were Black or African American, 4.4% were Hispanic or Latino, 0.4% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 11.7% were Asian, and 48.9% were White (see Table 1 in Section V). The following figure shows that the percentage of black or African-American women physicians (54.7%) was greater than that of men (45.3%) of the same racial and ethnic group. However, men comprised a greater percentage of physicians than women across Asian (56.4%), American Indian or Alaska Native (58.1%), Hispanic or Latino (59.0%), and white (65.2%) racial and ethnic groups.


Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F1.xlsx


Figure 2: U.S. Physicians by Asian Subgroups and Sex, 2013

In 2013, most subgroups of the Asian physician workforce comprised more men than women, with Indian/Pakistani, Vietnamese, and Other Asian men representing the highest percentages (55.3%, 57.8%, and 62.3%, respectively) in comparison to their female counterparts. The only Asian subgroup in which there were more women than men were Filipino physicians (51.3%).

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F2.xlsx


Figure 3: U.S. Physicians by Hispanic or Latino Subgroups and Sex, 2013

Men accounted for a greater percentage of physicians than women among all Hispanic or Latino subgroups in 2013. The subgroups with the greatest percentages of men physicians included Mexican American (61.5%), Cuban (60.2%), Other Hispanic or Latino (58.6%), and Puerto Rican (57.1%). Fewer women physicians constituted the Cuban (39.8%) and Mexican American (38.5%) subgroups.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F3.xlsx


Figure 4: U.S. Physicians by Race, Ethnicity, and Age, 2013

Across all racial and ethnic minority groups, the largest percentage of physicians in 2013 was in the 35 to 44 age group (i.e., Asian, 41.0%; American Indian or Alaska Native, 36.2%; Hispanic or Latino, 34.6%; black or African-American, 33.6%). The majority of white physicians (30.0%) were age 45 to 54.

Note: These data exclude inactive physicians.The data for racial and ethnic minority physicians were collected for those who graduated from U.S. allopathic medical schools beginning in 1950, while the data for white physicians was not systematically collected until 1974. Therefore, the number of White physicians currently practicing is underestimated and may account for the higher numbers in the "unknown" category for those "65 & Older".
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F4.xlsx


Figure 5: Black or African-American Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013

In 2013, black or African-American male physicians made up a greater percentage of the workforce among most older age groups than their female counterparts (age 50 to 74). In contrast, among younger age groups (age 49 and younger) and the oldest age group (age 75 and older), a greater percentage of the physician workforce comprised black or African-American women compared to men.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| Fig5_Black


Figure 6: Asian Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013

In 2013, Asian women physicians made up a greater percentage of the workforce than their male counterparts among only the youngest age group (age 29 and younger). Among all other age groups (age 30 and older), a greater percentage of the physician workforce comprised Asian men compared to women.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| Fig6_Asian


Figure 7: American Indian or Alaska Native Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013

Among American Indian or Alaska Native physicians in 2013, a greater percentage of those from all age groups were men, compared to women. The greatest disparity between American Indian or Alaska Native men and women exists among physicians age 50 to 69.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| Fig7_AIAN


Figure 8: Hispanic or Latino Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013

Hispanic or Latino male physicians made up a greater percentage of the workforce than their female counterparts among most age groups (age 30 to 74). Hispanic or Latino women slightly outnumbered their male counterparts among only the youngest (age 29 and younger) and oldest (age 75 and older) age groups.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| Fig8_Hispanic


Figure 9: White Physicians by Age and Sex, 2013

Among white physicians in 2013, a greater percentage of those from all age ranges were men, compared to women. The greatest disparity between white men and women exists among physicians age 50 to 64.

Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| Fig9_White


Figure 10:U.S. Physicians by Graduation Year, Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 1980-2012

In 2012, there were five times as many American Indian or Alaska Native U.S. physician graduates than in 1980. Similarly, the number of Hispanic or Latino U.S. physician graduates has nearly tripled in the last three decades.

 

Tip: Data on this table can be shown or hidden by clicking on the desired dataset in the legend.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F10.xlsx


Figure 11: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 350 or More Black or African-American Physicians, 1980–2012

Among the U.S. medical schools that graduated 350 or more black or African-American physicians between 1980 and 2012, Howard University and Meharry Medical College had the highest graduations rates, with 2,451 and 2,005 graduates, respectively.

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F11.xlsx


Figure 12: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 40 or More American Indian or Alaska Native Physicians, 1980–2012

Among the U.S. medical schools that graduated 40 or more American Indian or Alaska Native physicians between 1980 and 2012, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Dakota graduated the most, with 259, 135, and 101 graduates, respectively.

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F12.xlsx


Figure 13: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 400 or More Hispanic or Latino Physicians, 1980–2012

Between 1980 and 2012, the three U.S. medical schools graduating more than 1,500 Hispanic or Latino physicians were located in Puerto Rico (The University of Puerto Rico, Universidad Central del Caribe, and Ponce).

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F13.xlsx


Figure 14: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 1,000 or More Asian Physicians, 1980–2012

Four U.S. medical schools graduated more than 1,500 Asian physicians between 1980 and 2012: University of Illinois, Northwestern, UCLA, and New York Medical College, with 1,878, 1,626, 1,545, and 1,501 graduates, respectively.

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F14.xlsx


Figure 15: U.S. Medical Schools Graduating 4,300 or More White Physicians, 1980–2012

Among all U.S. medical schools that graduated more than 4,300 white physicians, three of them graduated more than 5,900. These were Indiana University, University of Minnesota, and Wayne State University (with 7,369, 6,620, and 5,983 graduates, respectively) (see Figure 15).

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F15.xlsx


Figure 16: U.S. Physicians in Patient Care by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013

Across all racial and ethnic groups in patient care, the majority of physicians practiced in office-based patient care settings.  In contrast, less than 11 percent of physicians across all racial and ethnic groups worked as hospital staff, with Asian physicians least represented.  Residents and fellows comprised between 15-35 percent of the physician workforce across all racial and ethnic groups, with the greatest proportion (34.5%) among Asian physicians.

Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F16.xlsx


Figure 17: Primary Care vs. Non-Primary Care by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2013

On average, regardless of race and ethnicity, over 55 percent of physicians choose to practice non-primary care. However, non-white physicians are more likely to practice primary care than their white counterparts, and nearly a quarter of American Indians or Alaska Natives (22.5%) practice family medicine.

Select Race/Ethnicity:
Tip: Toggle between different races/ethnicities using the drop-down menu above.
Note: These data exclude missing sex and inactive physicians.
Source: AAMC Data Warehouse: Minority Physician Database, AMA Masterfile, and other AAMC data sources, as of 1/22/2014.

Download the data:| F17.xlsx

 

References

  1. U. S. Census Bureau http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html. Accessed September 11, 2014.
  2. Association of American Medical Colleges, Diversity in Medical Education: Facts & Figures 2012.