Gender pay gap widens among newly trained New York doctors
The income gap between new male and female physicians in New York has more than doubled from 2010 to 2016 even as the number of women entering the profession grows, a recent report found.
The average starting income in 2016 for male physicians in New York was $26,367 more than their female colleagues, according to a study from the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. That's significantly greater than the pay gap in 2010 when the starting income for male doctors was on average $11,931 more than female doctors.
"What is interesting is this is occurring at a time when more women are completing medical school and entering GME training — you think the opposite should be happening," said Jean Moore, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies.
Indeed, the pay gap has worsened exponentially in recent years despite the fact that women make up almost half of medical residents. The percentage of females who completed graduate medical education in New York has increased from 36% in 1998 to 48% in 2016, the report said.
Although the study is limited to New York, the state accounts for roughly 15% of medical school graduates in the U.S., said David Armstrong, lead researcher of the report and project director at the center. Not all of the graduates stay in the state to practice but move to other parts of the country, he added.
The issue has also been researched nationally with similar findings. Data released in 2015 from the U.S. Census Bureau found even though women represent 1 in 3 physicians and surgeons, they earn only 69 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn. Male physicians made $202,533 on average in 2013, while female doctors had a median income of $140,036 that year.
In New York, the researchers found the income disparity was present even in common specialties where females are more likely to practice. The pay difference between males and females in family medicine was $20,134 between 2014 and 2016. General internal medicine had a pay gap of $15,214 and obstetrics/gynecology had a pay gap of $12,697.
Moore said it's unknown why this pay gap exists and why it's getting worse. The Center for Health Workforce Studies plans to do further research to try to unpack the potential causes.
Although Moore notes the gender-income disparity "isn't unique to medicine," but present in other professions that have done similar studies.
The data used for the study was from the New York Resident Exit Survey, an annual survey since 1998 of physicians who complete residency or fellowship in the state. About 60% of the state's 5,000 annual graduating residents complete the survey.
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