National Study Finds Gender Pay Gap Narrows As Female Physician Compensation Increases

Doximity Research Finds National Physician Wages Have Plateaued for the First Time Since 2016; Pay Varies by City, Medical Specialty, and Employment Type

San Francisco, Calif., Mar. 26, 2019 — Doximity, the largest professional medical network, today released its third annual Physician Compensation Report. The report shows that after years of steady pay increases, national physician wages have plateaued for the first time since 2016.

The study also shows that the gender pay gap is decreasing from prior years. Male physician pay has remained flat since 2017, while female physician pay has increased. Major variations in pay were also found across metropolitan areas and within medical specialties. The report is based on the responses of nearly 90,000 licensed U.S. doctors across six years, making it the largest repository of data available on physician compensation.

“Compensation transparency is a powerful force. As more data becomes available to us, exposing the pay gap between men and women, we see more movements to rectify this issue,” said Christopher Whaley, PhD, lead author of the study and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

Key findings include:

Physician Compensation by Metro Area

  • The top five cities with the highest average compensation are: Milwaukee ($395,363); New Orleans ($384,651); Riverside, Calif. ($371,296); Minneapolis ($369,889); and Charlotte, N.C. ($368,205).
  • The bottom five metros where physicians are paid the lowest average salary are: Durham, N.C. ($266,180); Providence, R.I. ($267,013); San Antonio ($276,224); Virginia Beach, Va. ($294,491); and New Haven, Conn. ($295,554).
  • Seattle saw the highest growth rate in compensation at 15 percent, followed by Hartford, Conn. (13 percent); Riverside, Calif. (12 percent); Cincinnati (12 percent); and Baltimore (10 percent).
  • San Antonio had the lowest wage growth rate at -10 percent, followed by Tampa, Fla. (-10 percent); Virginia Beach, Va. (-7 percent); Chicago (-7 percent); and Louisville, Ky. (-6 percent).

Physician Compensation by Medical Specialty

  • The top five highest-paying medical specialties are: Neurosurgery ($616,823); Thoracic Surgery ($584,287); Orthopedic Surgery ($526,385); Radiation Oncology ($486,089); Vascular Surgery ($484,740).
  • The lowest-paying medical specialties are: Pediatric Infectious Disease ($185,892); Pediatric Endocrinology ($201,033); Pediatrics ($222,942); Pediatric Hematology & Oncology ($222,953); and Family Medicine ($242,352).

Physician Compensation by Gender

  • Cities with the smallest gender wage gaps in 2018: Birmingham, Ala (9 percent wage gap); Bridgeport, Conn. (10 percent); Milwaukee (14 percent); Seattle (15 percent); Jacksonville FL (16 percent).
  • Cities with the largest gender wage gap in 2018: Louisville/Jefferson County (40 percent); New Orleans (32 percent); Austin Texas (31 percent); Hartford, Conn. (31 percent); Dallas, Texas (31 percent).
  • Cities where female physicians earn the highest average annual salary are: Milwaukee ($351,247); Bridgeport, Conn. ($319,577); Seattle ($306,310); Minneapolis ($303,416); and Riverside, Calif. ($302,937).
  • Female physicians earn the lowest average annual salary in these metros: Providence, R.I. ($220,482); Durham, N.C. ($226,594); Louisville, Ky. ($230,754); Virginia Beach, Va. ($232,172); and Austin, Texas ($232,333).

Physician Compensation by Gender

  • Of the 10 employment types examined in this study, half of them experienced little to no changes in compensation, including the following: single specialty group; solo practice; multi-specialty group; health system/IDN/ACO; and health maintenance organization.
  • Only one employment type saw a double-digit percentage increase in wages: Industry / Pharmaceutical (17 percent).
  • The following employment types saw a decline in compensation: hospital (-7 percent); academic (-9 percent);

“We hope that this study can be used as a comprehensive resource to better inform U.S. physicians, medical students, and health care organizations,” said Mandy Armitage, M.D., Director of Medical Content at Doximity. “Although pay for female physicians has improved substantially, there is still significant progress that needs to be made.”


Doximity's study is drawn from self-reported compensation surveys completed by approximately 90,000 full-time, licensed U.S. physicians who practice at least 40 hours per week. Responses were mapped across metropolitan statistical areas, and the top 50 were ranked by the number of respondents in the data.

To control for differences in specialty, geography, and other provider-specific factors that might influence spending, we estimated a multivariate regression with fixed effects for provider specialty and MSA. We also controlled for how long each provider has practiced medicine and their self-reported average hours worked per week. This regression was estimated using a generalized linear model with a log link and gamma distribution. For the geographic and specialty rankings, we used the predicted values from this regression.

About Doximity

Founded in 2010, Doximity is the leading digital platform for medical professionals. The company’s network members include over 80% of U.S. physicians across all specialties and practice areas. Doximity provides its verified clinical membership with digital tools built for medicine, enabling them to collaborate with colleagues, stay up to date with the latest medical news and research, manage their careers and conduct virtual patient visits. Doximity’s mission is to help doctors be more productive so they can provide better healthcare for their patients. For more information, please visit

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