Special Report

States With the Fewest (and Most) Doctors Per Person

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The United States has been quietly battling a doctor shortage for a few years. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed just how big the problem is. Medical institutions have been warning that there could be a shortage of up to 124,000 primary care physicians and specialty care doctors nationwide within a decade, according to research by the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

There is already a shortage in some areas in the U.S., with rural areas disproportionately affected. If people living in rural communities, as well as minorities and those with no health insurance, had the same access to medical care that others have, the country would need an additional 180,400 doctors to meet demand. (These are the states where the most people don’t have health insurance.)

To determine the states with the most and fewest doctors, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on medical workforce by state from the 2021 State Physician Workforce Data Report of the Association of American Medical Colleges. States were ranked based on the number of active physicians per capita.

Physician counts were adjusted for population using one-year data from the 2021 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau. Supplemental data on the percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health and the number of premature deaths before the age of 75 per 100,000 residents came from the 2022 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Data on uninsured rate and poverty rate came from the 2021 ACS and are one-year estimates.

Click here to see the states with the most and fewest doctors per person

Most of the states with the fewest doctors per capita are in the South. The variation between states with the most and fewest doctors per capita is stark. It ranges from 184 doctors for every 100,000 people in the state with the fewest doctors per capita to 460 per 100,000 in the state with the most doctors.

States with a lower doctor-to-resident ratio share some common attributes, including generally higher rates of people without health insurance and adults reporting poor or fair health. (These are the states with the shortest life expectancies.)

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50. Idaho
> Active physicians: 184.3 per 100,000 residents (3,504 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.1% (14th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 311.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 8.8% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (15th lowest)

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49. Mississippi
> Active physicians: 198.5 per 100,000 residents (5,857 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 22.0% (4th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 542.6 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 11.9% (6th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.4% (2nd highest)

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48. Oklahoma
> Active physicians: 208.0 per 100,000 residents (8,293 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 21.3% (7th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 476.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 13.8% (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.6% (8th highest)

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47. Wyoming
> Active physicians: 211.6 per 100,000 residents (1,225 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.7% (20th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 368.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 12.2% (4th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (19th lowest)

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46. Nevada
> Active physicians: 214.1 per 100,000 residents (6,731 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 20.1% (10th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 379.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 11.6% (7th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (11th highest)

45. Arkansas
> Active physicians: 214.8 per 100,000 residents (6,500 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 24.1% (2nd highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 478.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.2% (17th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.3% (6th highest)

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44. Utah
> Active physicians: 215.6 per 100,000 residents (7,198 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.8% (12th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 291.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.0% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 8.6% (2nd lowest)

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43. Alabama
> Active physicians: 217.9 per 100,000 residents (10,983 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 21.4% (6th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 499.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.9% (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.1% (7th highest)

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42. Iowa
> Active physicians: 221.0 per 100,000 residents (7,056 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.6% (5th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 339.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 4.8% (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (17th lowest)

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41. Texas
> Active physicians: 227.5 per 100,000 residents (67,182 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 20.9% (8th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 361.8 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 18.0% (the highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (10th highest)

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40. Georgia
> Active physicians: 232.2 per 100,000 residents (25,072 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 19.3% (12th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 399.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 12.6% (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (12th highest)

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39. Kentucky
> Active physicians: 233.5 per 100,000 residents (10,528 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 22.0% (3rd highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 491.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.7% (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (5th highest)

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38. Indiana
> Active physicians: 233.9 per 100,000 residents (15,918 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.9% (13th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 420.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.5% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (24th highest)

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37. Kansas
> Active physicians: 234.2 per 100,000 residents (6,874 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.1% (25th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 373.2 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.2% (18th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (23rd lowest)

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36. South Carolina
> Active physicians: 235.0 per 100,000 residents (12,197 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.8% (20th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 433.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 10.0% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.6% (9th highest)

35. North Dakota
> Active physicians: 235.6 per 100,000 residents (1,826 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.3% (2nd lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 343.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.9% (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)

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34. Nebraska
> Active physicians: 245.5 per 100,000 residents (4,820 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.9% (7th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 328.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.1% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (13th lowest)

33. South Dakota
> Active physicians: 247.3 per 100,000 residents (2,214 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.1% (15th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 353.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.5% (15th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.3% (22nd highest)

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32. New Mexico
> Active physicians: 249.0 per 100,000 residents (5,269 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 20.0% (11th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 437.2 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 10.0% (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.4% (3rd highest)

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31. Montana
> Active physicians: 249.0 per 100,000 residents (2,750 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.4% (11th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 352.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 8.2% (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (24th lowest)

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30. Arizona
> Active physicians: 252.1 per 100,000 residents (18,343 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.3% (15th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 360.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 10.7% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.8% (19th highest)

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29. Tennessee
> Active physicians: 253.6 per 100,000 residents (17,687 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 20.3% (9th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 478.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 10.0% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (14th highest)

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28. North Carolina
> Active physicians: 262.1 per 100,000 residents (27,650 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.5% (14th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 383.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 10.4% (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.4% (15th highest)

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27. Virginia
> Active physicians: 264.7 per 100,000 residents (22,874 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.1% (21st lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 334.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.8% (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.2% (7th lowest)

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26. Florida
> Active physicians: 270.1 per 100,000 residents (58,822 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.8% (19th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 350.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 12.1% (5th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.1% (17th highest)

25. Wisconsin
> Active physicians: 271.0 per 100,000 residents (15,975 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.0% (13th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 324.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.4% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (14th lowest)

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24. Louisiana
> Active physicians: 271.6 per 100,000 residents (12,557 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 21.7% (5th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 485.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.6% (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.6% (the highest)

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23. West Virginia
> Active physicians: 275.6 per 100,000 residents (4,914 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 24.3% (the highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 527.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.1% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.8% (4th highest)

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22. Washington
> Active physicians: 280.8 per 100,000 residents (21,731 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.7% (18th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 296.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.4% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.9% (5th lowest)

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21. Delaware
> Active physicians: 284.0 per 100,000 residents (2,850 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.0% (18th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 370.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.7% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (22nd lowest)

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20. Alaska
> Active physicians: 286.8 per 100,000 residents (2,101 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.7% (19th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 364.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 11.4% (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.5% (12th lowest)

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19. California
> Active physicians: 289.8 per 100,000 residents (113,718 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.8% (21st highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 288.1 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.0% (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.3% (21st highest)

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18. Colorado
> Active physicians: 291.7 per 100,000 residents (16,956 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.7% (6th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 298.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 8.0% (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 9.7% (4th lowest)

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17. Illinois
> Active physicians: 293.0 per 100,000 residents (37,122 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.1% (24th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 351.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.0% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (25th highest)

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16. Missouri
> Active physicians: 296.6 per 100,000 residents (18,297 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.6% (22nd highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 425.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 9.4% (16th highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (20th highest)

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15. Michigan
> Active physicians: 298.9 per 100,000 residents (30,040 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.2% (16th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 384.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.0% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.1% (18th highest)

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14. Ohio
> Active physicians: 299.9 per 100,000 residents (35,333 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.1% (17th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 420.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.5% (20th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.4% (16th highest)

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13. New Jersey
> Active physicians: 300.3 per 100,000 residents (27,832 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.5% (17th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 318.9 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 7.2% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.2% (8th lowest)

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12. Minnesota
> Active physicians: 308.7 per 100,000 residents (17,617 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.3% (3rd lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 279.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 4.5% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.3% (3rd lowest)

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11. Oregon
> Active physicians: 309.2 per 100,000 residents (13,127 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.4% (24th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 311.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.1% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (23rd highest)

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10. Hawaii
> Active physicians: 316.1 per 100,000 residents (4,557 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.3% (16th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 288.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 3.9% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (18th lowest)

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9. New Hampshire
> Active physicians: 316.1 per 100,000 residents (4,391 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.3% (10th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 306.5 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.1% (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 7.2% (the lowest)

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8. Pennsylvania
> Active physicians: 324.4 per 100,000 residents (42,051 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.6% (23rd highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 365.8 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.5% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (25th lowest)

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7. Maine
> Active physicians: 324.9 per 100,000 residents (4,459 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.2% (25th highest)
> Premature mortality rate: 344.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.7% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (21st lowest)

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6. Connecticut
> Active physicians: 359.9 per 100,000 residents (12,977 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.3% (9th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 297.6 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.2% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (6th lowest)

5. Rhode Island
> Active physicians: 370.8 per 100,000 residents (4,063 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.3% (22nd lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 313.7 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 4.3% (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (20th lowest)

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4. Vermont
> Active physicians: 373.3 per 100,000 residents (2,410 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.6% (the lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 309.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 3.7% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (9th lowest)

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3. New York
> Active physicians: 381.9 per 100,000 residents (75,749 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.4% (23rd lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 307.4 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 5.2% (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9% (13th highest)

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2. Maryland
> Active physicians: 385.9 per 100,000 residents (23,791 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.0% (8th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 358.0 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 6.1% (18th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (10th lowest)

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1. Massachusetts
> Active physicians: 459.8 per 100,000 residents (32,116 total)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.4% (4th lowest)
> Premature mortality rate: 288.3 deaths per 100,000 people (13th lowest)
> Population without health insurance: 2.5% (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.4% (11th lowest)

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