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PHYSICIANS: How many doctors are there in the US?

Each year, the American Medical Association publishes a count of the number of physicians in the United States.  It is actually more than “a count,” it is an entire book that has been published annually for many years, and which I consider to be the GOLD STANDARD source for reliable counts of doctors.

When using this book, it is helpful to remember that the AMA differentiates between MD’s and DO’s.  Most of the book is about MD’s — medical doctors — but there are also useful counts of DO’s — doctors of osteopathy, or osteopaths.  In the counts that below, I’ve summed the MD and DO counts.


[This excludes doctors in administration, teaching, research, or other positions who are not providing patient care]

  • 843,865 total (MD’s and DO’s)
  • 8 percent of the total are DO’s
  • One third of the total are female
  • One third of the total are aged 55 or older

Source: Smart, D.R.  Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US 2014.  Chicago: American Medical Association, 2014, tables 1.1 and 5.1, pp 8, 329.  Click here to view table of contents: http://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/1603598952  Click here for ordering information: https://commerce.ama-assn.org/store/catalog/productDetail.jsp?product_id=prod2420006&navAction=push  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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