Special Report

The Best and Worst States to Be a Dentist


To determine the best and worst states to be a dentist, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index consisting of four components: dentists per capita, dentist salary, dental schools, and quality of life.

Data on the number of dentists per 100,000 residents as of 2017 came from the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings assessment and was included in the index at full weight. Data on the average annual wages for dentists as of May 2018 came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program. Figures were adjusted for cost of living using regional price parities from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and were included in the index at full weight. Wage estimates for Vermont were calculated based on the average percentage difference in wage for dental hygienists and dental assistants from their corresponding national values. The number of dental schools ranked on The Student Doctor Network’s Dental School Rankings list within each state were included in the index at full weight.

Finally, quality of life — a subindex consisting of median household income, the percentage of adults aged 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree, and the percentage of the population without health insurance, all from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, as well as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2019 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — was included in the index at full weight.