The state of physician shortages

The U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 86,000 physicians by 2036 as employment pressures persist nationwide, according to a 2024 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The workforce analysis, conducted in 2023, found that to curb the shortages, it is necessary for states to continue investing in medical education. 

If states, teaching health systems and hospitals, Congress and CMS continue to invest in medical graduate education, a portion of shortages could potentially be curbed, the report said. 

Currently, physicians 65 or older compose 20% of the clinical physician workforce, and those between age 55 and 64 make up 22%, meaning a significant portion of that demographic is set to reach retirement age in the next decade. 

Additionally, the population of U.S. residents 65 and older is projected to grow by 34.1% by 2036, with an increase of 54.7% in the size of the population 75 and older, meaning more residents will likely need medical and surgical care in the next decade. 

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