The best and worst states to practice medicine, according to WalletHub analysis

Doctors talking
WalletHub released its 2018 report and found South Dakota is the best state to practice medicine. (Getty/wmiami)

What’s the best state to practice medicine? According to a new ranking from WalletHub, it’s South Dakota.

And doctors practicing in Mississippi have the highest average annual wage when adjusted for cost of living, according to the company’s new report, while those working in the District of Columbia make the least.

With National Doctors’ Day coming up on March 30, the personal-finance website released its 2018 report that looked at the best and worst states for doctors to practice. To come up with its rankings, WalletHub compared the 50 states and District of Columbia across 16 key metrics that included factors such as the average annual wage of physicians, the number of hospitals per capita and the average cost of malpractice insurance.

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South Dakota was the best state to practice, in part because of its ranking as the number two state with the highest average annual wage.

The top five best states to practice were:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Nebraska
  3. Idaho
  4. Iowa
  5. Minnesota

The five worst states to practice were:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Rhode Island
  3. New York
  4. Hawaii
  5. District of Columbia

Some other findings from the report include:

The least punitive state medical board was in Maine and the most punitive was in Delaware. Delaware’s medical board was 13 times more likely to penalize physicians than the board in Maine.

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Wisconsin ranked lowest for malpractice award payouts per capita, while payouts in New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey were the highest—with payouts 35 times higher than those in Wisconsin.

New York, which had the third worst average annual wage, also had the most expensive rates for malpractice insurance. It was eight times more expensive than insurance in Nebraska, the cheapest state.

WalletHub said it measured states across two key dimensions: opportunity and competition and medical environment. The state with the lowest projected competition for physicians by 2024 was Idaho, while the highest were Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.