Average primary care physician salaries vary significantly from state to state, from a low of $144,100 in Oklahoma to $235,600 in Alaska, according to an analysis from 24/7 Wall St.
There do not appear to be correlations between average salaries and other state performance indicators, such as average income for the general population or health outcomes.
- Physicians are more likely than workers in any other profession to earn a spot in the top 1% of earners nationwide, but the typical medical school graduate accumulates $183,000 in student debt.
There does not appear to be an overarching pattern behind average salaries paid to physicians. While some data points in the analysis make sense on the surface, others are head-scratchers.
High salaries paid to physicians in Alaska could be explained by a doctor shortage in the state. Only about a quarter of the demand for primary care services in the state can be met by its current stable of physicians, according to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation. On the other hand, Connecticut is the only state with a higher rate of unmet need and its physician salaries are right in the middle of the pack, coming in at 24th in the 24/7 Wall St. analysis.
Average salary for all jobs in states did not correlated with average physician salaries. For instance, average physician salaries in Mississippi were fifth highest in the analysis, but average salaries for all jobs were lower there than anywhere else in the country. And it is not like healthcare is better in Mississippi than elsewhere. The state came in at 49th in healthcare rankings developed by U.S. News & World Report.
Salaries for other healthcare professions can also vary significantly from one area to another. For instance, a Glassdoor report from November 2016 found that the average salary for registered nurses was about 20% higher in Los Angeles at $86,731 than in Houston at $71,216.