HealthDay News — According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Regulation, census reports have demonstrated an increase in the number of physicians and in the actively licensed US physicians-to-population ratio from 2010 to 2016.

Aaron Young, PhD, from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and colleagues used data from the nation’s state medical and osteopathic licensing boards to report key features of actively licensed physicians.

The researchers identified 953,695 actively licensed allopathic and osteopathic physicians serving a population of 323 million people based on data current through the end of 2016. This represented a 12% net physician increase from the 2010 census. 

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There was an increase in the actively licensed US physician-to-population ratio from 277 to 295 physicians per 100,000 population from 2010 to 2016.

Females now account for one-third of all licensed physicians. Substantial increases were seen in osteopathic physicians and Caribbean medical graduates in terms of absolute numbers and percentage of all actively licensed physicians from 2010 to 2016.

“Future FSMB census reports will continue to play an important role in tracking the number of licensed physicians and physician-to-population ratios as indicators of the degree of the physician shortage facing the country,” the authors write.


Young A, Chaudhry HJ, Xiaomei P, Arnhart K, Dugan M, Snyder GB. A Census of Activity Licensed Physicians in the United Sates, 2016. Journal of Medical Regulation. 2017;103(2): 7-21. [Epub ahead of date]

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