New Study Reveals Significant Gaps in U.S. Doctor Compensation

Comprehensive Findings Show Major Differences in Physician Pay Across Gender, Specialties, and Cities

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 26, 2017 -- Doximity, the leading social network for physician and advanced practice clinicians, today released its first annual Doximity Physician Compensation Report. This is the most comprehensive research undertaken to date on physician pay in the United States, and it found significant variations in average compensation, across 48 specialties, major cities, and gender. The report examined national, as well as local market trends across U.S. metropolitan statistical areas – a first in medical labor market analysis.

“As the largest medical social network, Doximity has unmatched insight into many of the important issues that impact the medical community. Considering that the cost of a medical education can be upwards of $250,000, sharing detailed data on compensation can be particularly helpful. Moreover, the trends identified in this report can provide all stakeholders a view into those areas of the medical labor market that require more attention,” said Nate Gross, MD, co-founder of Doximity.

Doximity’s physician compensation report is based on 36,000 verified physician respondents. It includes only licensed physicians in the U.S. who practice at least 40 hours a week. Key findings include:

Average Compensation for All Combined Specialties

  • Interestingly, 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, N.C. ($359,455); Bridgeport, Conn. ($353,925); Phoenix, Ariz. ($351,677); Milwaukee, Wis. ($345,831); and Houston, Texas ($345,079).
  • The bottom five metro areas in which physicians are paid the lowest average annual salary are: Durham, N.C. ($267,598); Ann Arbor, Mich. ($272,398); Baltimore, Md. ($281,005); Charleston, S.C. ($285,933); and Washington, D.C. ($286,242).

Family Doctors / Primary Care Physicians

  • Primary care doctors represent the backbone of clinical care in the country, and location is a key determinant of their compensation.
  • The top five metro areas with the overall highest compensation for primary care providers includes: Charlotte, N.C. ($285,109); Bridgeport, Conn. ($279,138); Minneapolis, Minn. ($272,610); Indianapolis, Ind. ($270,468); and Phoenix, Ariz. ($268,869).

Gender Gap in Physician Compensation

  • 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 is no medical specialty identified in the study in which women earn more than men. As an example, female neurosurgeons were found earn over $90,000 less on average per year. Also, there is no place in the United States – state or top 50 metropolitan areas – where women out-earn men.
  • The five largest gender wage gaps are found in: Charlotte, N.C. (33 percent less or $125,035); Durham, N.C. (31 percent less or $90,480); Orlando, Fla. (30 percent less or $107,942); Pittsburgh, Pa. (30 percent less or $100,956); and Bridgeport, Conn. (29 percent less or $110,582).
  • The specialties with the largest gender wage gap are: Vascular Surgery (20 percent less or $88,800); Occupational Medicine (20 percent less or $53,921); Pediatric Endocrinology (20 percent less or $41,467); Gastroenterology (19 percent less or $78,490); and Pediatric Rheumatology (19 less percent or $45,412).
  • For female physicians, the metro areas in which female physicians are paid the highest average annual salary are: Minneapolis, Minn. ($290,747); Phoenix, Ariz. ($290,536); Milwaukee, Wis. ($287,950); Indianapolis, Ind. ($281,987); and Dallas, Texas ($278,825).
  • The metro areas in which female physicians are paid the lowest average annual salary are: Durham, N.C. ($205,635); Charleston, S.C. ($219,112); Ann Arbor, Mich. ($225,004); Baltimore, Md. ($226,048); and Washington, D.C. ($227,263).

“No matter what happens with health care reform, physicians will remain at the core of our health system. 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. “Disparities in compensation directly affect the distribution of physicians around the country, which can impact patient care directly.”


Doximity’s study is drawn from self-reported compensation surveys of over 36,000 full-time, licensed U.S. physicians who practice at least 40 hours per week. The timeframe ranges from 2014-2017. Responses were mapped across metropolitan statistical areas, and the top 50 were ranked by the number of respondents in the data. For foreign-trained doctors, the subset includes U.S. citizens and nationals who have trained abroad. 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. For the national numbers on the gap between average gender pay and average pay location of where trained, percentage changes were converted to dollar values by taking marginal effects.

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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