The top 5 states for doctors to practice, according to WalletHub analysis

Montana landscape with mountains
Montana is the best state for doctors to practice (and it's pretty). (Getty/Srongkrod)

With National Doctors’ Day coming up this week, a new report finds that Montana is the best state in the country for physicians to practice.

WalletHub, the personal-finance website, released its report on 2019’s best and worst states for doctors. The company identified the best states for physicians by comparing the 50 states and District of Columbia across 18 key metrics that rated them on opportunity and competition and medical environment.

While Montana rated number one, the state of New York was at the bottom of the list, driven by factors such as low salaries, lots of competition, high malpractice award payouts and expensive malpractice liability insurance.


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The report considered factors such as the average annual salary when adjusted for cost of living, the number of hospitals per capita, projected population and projected number of physicians and malpractice awards and insurance rates.

So what are the top states to practice medicine according to the report?

1. Montana

2. Wisconsin

3. Idaho

4. Minnesota

5. Iowa

The five worst states to practice:

1. New York

2. District of Columbia

3. Rhode Island

4. New Jersey

5. Connecticut

The report found the highest average annual wage for physicians when adjusted for cost of living was in South Dakota, which ranked sixth on the list of best states to practice, while the lowest was in the District of Columbia.

RELATED: Demand for both physicians and nurse practitioners driving up compensation, study finds

Some other findings from the report include:

As was the case last year, 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.

Wisconsin ranked lowest for malpractice award payouts per capita, while payouts in New York and Rhode Island were the highest.

RELATED: Diagnostic errors are top reason for liability claims against primary care doctors, report says

New York also had the most expensive rates for malpractice insurance. It was eight times more expensive than insurance in Nebraska, the cheapest state.

The state with the lowest projected competition for physicians by 2026 was Oklahoma, while the highest were New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

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