Rural, urban physician income similar

Jan. 26, 2005 at 11:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Research shows average incomes for U.S. physicians in rural areas are not significantly different from what their urban colleagues earn.

A national study of about 12,000 physicians, released Wednesday by the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Studying Health System Change, found that after adjusting for cost of living and work effort differences, rural physicians actually have about 13 percent more purchasing power than do doctors living in bigger cities.

"The study should dispel the myth that lower income potential is a major obstacle to recruiting physicians to most rural areas," HSC President Paul Ginsburg, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, the higher purchasing power of rural physician incomes may be needed to compensate physicians for other disadvantages of rural practice."

The average annual income for rural physicians is $204,000, compared to $218,000 for urban doctors -- which HSC said was not statistically significant because of differences in the cost of living.

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