Survey: Rural Pays More Than NY, Chicago, San Francisco


 
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By Jeff Lagasse

There are significant variations in compensation among physicians in the United State, with significant differences in pay across major cities, gender, and 48 specialities.

The report examined both national and local market trends across U.S. metropolitan statistical areas -- which was touted as a first in medical labor market analysis.

Surprisingly, rural and lower-cost cities tended to have higher physician compensation than higher-cost areas such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago. The top five metro areas in which physicians are paid the highest average annual salary are Charlotte, North Carolina at an average of $359,455; Bridgeport, Connecticut at $353,925; Phoenix, Arizona at $351,677; Milwaukee, Wisconsin at $345,831; and Houston, Texas at $345,079.

The bottom five metro areas in which physicians are paid the lowest average annual salary are Durham, North Carolina at $267,598; Ann Arbor, Michigan at $272,398; Baltimore, Maryland at $281,005; Charleston, South Carolina at $285,933; and Washington, D.C. at $286,242.

When it came to primary care doctors, location was a key determinant of their compensation. Charlotte, North Carolina saw the highest average compensation for primary care doctors at $285,109. Bridgeport, Connecticut came in second at $279,138, followed by Minneapolis, Minnesota at $272,610; Indianapolis, Indiana at $270,468; and Phoenix, Arizona at $268,869.

Nationally, the gender gap difference is stark. Female physicians on average earn 26.5 percent less, or in dollar terms, $91,284 less, than their male counterparts. Moreover, there's no medical specialty identified in the study in which women earn more than men -- female neurosurgeons, for instance, were found to earn over $90,000 less on average per year. And there is no place in the United States -- no state, no top-50 metropolitan area -- in which women out-earn men.

For female physicians, the metro areas in which they're paid the highest average annual salary are Minneapolis, Minnesota at $290,747; Phoenix, Arizona at $290,536; Milwaukee, Wisconsin at $287,950; Indianapolis, Indiana at $281,987; and Dallas, Texas at $278,825.

The metro areas in which female physicians are paid the lowest average annual salary are Durham, North Carolina at $205,635; Charleston, South Carolina at $219,112; Ann Arbor, Michigan at $225,004; Baltimore, Maryland at $226,048; and Washington, D.C. at $227,263.

The five largest gender wage gaps are found in Charlotte, North Carolina, with 33 percent less, or $125,035; Durham, North Carolina at 31 percent less, or $90,480; Orlando, Florida at 30 percent less, or $107,942; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 30 percent less, or $100,956; and Bridgeport, Connecticut at 29 percent less or $110,582.

The specialties with the largest gender wage gap are vascular surgery at 20 percent less; occupational medicine at 20 percent less; pediatric endocrinology at 20 percent less; gastroenterology at 19 percent less; and pediatric rheumatology at 19 percent less.

"Policymakers and industry leaders must clearly understand how the marketplaces vary for men and women across the country and among medical specialties," said Chris Whaley, PhD, lead author and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, in a statement. "Disparities in compensation directly affect the distribution of physicians around the country, which can impact patient care directly."

 
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