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The Best and Worst States for Doctors, According to WalletHub

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WalletHub created a ranking of states based on favorability of medical practice for doctors. The ranking factors include compensation, malpractice environment, professional competition and quality of the public health system.

Doctors are among the most valued professionals in our society today. After more than two years of fighting a pandemic, physicians are exhausted and burned out. In fact, burnout levels are among the highest ever reported since surveys began.

That’s why steering a medical career toward the most favorable environments for clinical practice may be of top interest to medical professionals. WalletHub, a leading publisher of financial insights, compiled a state by state ranking of best and worst states for doctors.

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Here is the data for the 2022 analysis.

The 10 best states for doctors

1. South Dakota

2. Minnesota

3. Wisconsin

4. Montana

5. Idaho

6. Iowa

7. Nebraska

8. Kansas

9. North Dakota

10. Mississippi

The 10 worst states for doctors

41. Connecticut

42. Oregon

43. Massachusetts

44. Vermont

45. Hawaii

46. Alaska

47. New Jersey

48. Delaware

49. District of Columbia

40. New York

51. Rhode Island

View the full list of state rankings on the WalletHub website.

About the methodology

WalletHub evaluated all 50 states plus the District of Columbia in two categories: “opportunity and competition” and “medical environment”. Between those two categories, 19 different metrics were analyzed.

Opportunity and competition: 70% of score

  • Physicians’ average annual wage
  • Physicians’ average monthly starting salary
  • Hospitals per capita
  • Insured population rate
  • Employer-based insurance rate
  • Projected share of elderly population
  • Current competition
  • Share of medical residents retained
  • Projected competition
  • Number of CME credits required
  • Presence of interstate medical licensure compact law

Medical environment: 30% of score

  • Quality of public health system, based on data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Hospital safety
  • Presence of nationally accredited health departments
  • Physician assistants per capita
  • Punitiveness of state medical board
  • Malpractice award payout amount per capita
  • Annual malpractice liability insurance rate
  • Physician burnout

Meaningful variation state by state

Across some metrics, the difference between the best and worst states is significant. For example, in terms of competition with other physicians, Nevada ranks best, and the District of Columbia ranks worst. There is a difference of 33X between DC and Nevada in the methodology weighting.

On the cost of annual medical malpractice liability insurance, the difference in ranking between the State of New York (worst) and Nebraska (best) is 8X.

With 74% of physicians now being employed rather than in independent practice, you may have more professional flexibility in choosing where you want to work.

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Best and Worst States for Doctors. WalletHub. https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-doctors/11376
  2. COVID-19’s Impact on Acquisitions of Physician Practices and Physician Employment 2019-2021. Physicians Advocacy Institute. http://www.physiciansadvocacyinstitute.org/PAI-Research/Physician-Employment-and-Practice-Acquisitions-Trends-2019-21