A bit of good news for those worrying about the coming physician shortage: the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) says that the number of doctors increased 12% from 2010 to 2016. There were 953,695 actively licensed physicians in the United States in 2016, up from 850,085 in 2010. “United States first-year medical school enrollment has increased by 28% since 2002,” according to an FSMB census. “In 2016, 88,304 medical students were enrolled, compared to 81,934 medical students in 2012.”
Demand will surely grow, the organization points not just to baby boomers but to millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000. “With the inclusion of immigration, millennials are expected to grow in number, reaching their peak population around 2036,” the FSMB states. “Future planning needs to take into account the health care needs of all generations.”
The FSMB relied on data from state medical and osteopathic boards that are responsible for the licensing and disciplining of doctors in the United States. The database contains more than two million doctor records and includes info about doctors who are currently licensed, are no longer licensed, or who are dead.
“While the aging physician population remains a concern in terms of health care supply, some of the fastest growing segments of the physician population in the United States—including females, DOs and Caribbean medical graduates—tend to be younger compared to the overall physician population.”
Source: Federation of State Medical Boards