Changes in the physician workforce: 10 things to know

The Association of American Medical Colleges recently released the "2022 Physician Specialty Data Report," which is an update from the 2020 edition and includes the most current data on the physician workforce.

Here are 10 takeaways to know from the report:

  1. In 2021, 37.1 percent of active physicians were female, making up over one-third of the physician workforce.
  2. Meanwhile, 47.3 percent of residents in ACGME-accredited programs were female. 
  3. The most common specialty for women in residency programs was obstetrics, with 86.4 percent of residents being female. 
  4. The least common area was sports medicine, with 10.7 percent of residents being female.
  5. Sports medicine and psychiatry saw the most growth in the numbers of first-year residents and fellows between 2016 and 2021. Preventive medicine and pediatric anesthesiology experienced the biggest drop.
  6. In 2021, internal medicine was the most common specialty, with over 120,000 physicians, followed by family medicine/general practice and pediatrics.
  7. In 2021, 46.7 percent of practicing physicians were 55 or older.
  8. Pulmonary disease is the oldest specialty on average, with 92.4 percent of its providers being 55 or older. 
  9. Sports medicine is the youngest specialty on average, with only 9 percent of physicians being 55 or older.
  10. Sports medicine experienced some of the biggest growth among specialties between 2016 and 2021, growing by 42.5 percent.

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