America's medical residents, by the numbers – AAMC

Nearly 140,000 medical residents worked in health care systems across the United States in 2020, making their community as large as the population of Dayton, Ohio. If they formed a city of their own, the place would stand out like no other. For example:
These are among the findings in the 2020 Report on Residents, an annual AAMC compilation of data on the characteristics of medical school graduates and residents, including test scores, demographics, and professional activities after residency — the multiyear training period when medical school graduates practice at hospitals and clinics under close supervision. 
Here are some of the more interesting findings:
The number of active residents covered in the report increased from 134,951 in 2019 to 139,848 in 2020. This table shows the numbers of residents by type of medical school, graduate medical education specialty, and gender.
Racial diversity varies greatly among specialties, as this data table shows. Asked to identify their race, the 2019-20 MD residents selected:
(Note: Residents could choose more than one race, and the figures do not include the 16.5% of residents who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent U.S. residents.)
Women make up a larger percentage of residents in obstetrics and gynecology (83.8%), pediatrics (72.4%), and family medicine (53.7%), while men make up a larger percentage of residents in diagnostic radiology (73.0%), anesthesiology (66.9%), and emergency medicine (64.1%). See the gender distribution by specialty.
The road to residency is rarely straight; most medical students change their routes along the way. Among students graduating in 2019-20, almost half (48.7%) reported that they will graduate with a different specialty than what they had planned at the outset of their medical education. Medical school graduates who plan on entering these specialties were most likely to have named different specialties when they began medical school:
Alternatively, just over one-quarter (26.1%) of students reported that they will graduate with the same specialty preference as they had indicated at the start of medical school. The “continuity rate” was highest in these specialties:
See more about how specialty preferences changed or stayed the same for various specialties.
Early-career doctors routinely seek to serve people in need both during and after their residencies.
First-year residents across all specialties routinely take up volunteer opportunities related to health and medical care. The residents reporting the highest average number of volunteer experiences (per person) were in obstetrics and gynecology (9.0), internal medicine/pediatrics (8.8), otolaryngology (8.1), and pediatrics (7.8).
Underserved Areas
Among those who completed residencies from 2010 through 2019, 25.4% reported practicing — that is, providing direct patient care — in MUAs around the country. MUAs are defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration as “having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty, or a high elderly population.”
The percentages of those doctors practicing in MUAs were particularly high in some of the largest specialties — including internal medicine (27.3%), neurology (27.2%), family medicine (26.5%), and general surgery (26.3%) — but also in the relatively small specialty of child neurology (31.0%). 
MUA service varies significantly by state. More than half of early-career doctors report having practiced in MUAs in Alabama, Mississippi, and Montana, while the figure is less than 10% in Maine, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
See tables that show how many early-career doctors practice in MUAs by state and by areas of specialty.
Residents’ test scores on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) vary significantly among specialties. Below are some of the average scores among first-year residents in 2019-20:
USMLE Step 1
USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge)
After completing their residencies, the majority of doctors don’t move far away. Most residents (55.5%) who completed training from 2010 through 2019 continue to practice medicine in the states where they did their residencies. Physician retention among states after residency is highest in California (77.6%) and lowest in Delaware (38.3%), as this table shows.
In the most recent reporting year (2019), 3.3% of active residents who graduated from U.S. MD-granting schools were dual MD-PhD graduates. Among general specialties, pathology: anatomic and clinical had the highest percentage of active U.S. MD-PhD graduates (16.6%). This table shows the numbers of residents with MD-PhDs by specialty.
Among those who completed residency training from 2010 through 2019, nearly 1 in 5 (19.7%) hold a full-time faculty position at an MD-granting school in the United States. This table shows faculty appointments by specialty.
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