The 10 Highest-Paying Cities for Physicians
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic turned 2020 into a tumultuous year for healthcare in almost every conceivable way—including revenue and physician pay in virtually every area of the country. After years of increases of about 4% annually, the average doctor compensation increased just 1.5% in 2020, according to Doximity’s fourth annual Physician Compensation Report.
The report listed the top-paying metro areas, which don’t always align with cities with higher median incomes. In general, areas with more academic or governmental medical facilities pay less and those with a higher number of private institutions pay more. Five cities that were in the top 10 in 2019 dropped off the list entirely, and except for the number one spot, the others shifted positions.
Physician Compensation Trends in 2020
Beginning in March, the drop in elective procedures led to a precipitous decline in revenue in private practices and hospitals, despite the rising cost of healthcare. So far there is no proven link between 2020’s revenue loss and lower increases in compensation, but the Doximity report suggests there may be a connection. In fact, when you factor in 2019’s 2.3% inflation rate, physicians on average actually experienced a decline in income in 2020. The gender gap between earnings for male and female physicians also widened, from 25.2% in 2019 to 28% in 2020. Female doctors, on average, made $116,289 less than male physicians.
Cities With the Largest 2020 Pay Increases
Some cities bucked the trend of minimal increases from the previous year, but that didn’t land them in the top-paying areas overall. Out of the 10 cities that showed the biggest average increase in physician compensation in 2020, only Atlanta, which had the seventh-highest increase, was also one of the top-paying metro areas overall.
The cities with the biggest percentage increases in compensation in 2020 were:
- Providence, R.I. — 8.9%
- Portland, Ore. — 8.6%
- Richmond, Va. — 7.5%
- Las Vegas — 7.2%
- New Orleans — 7.2%
- Birmingham, Ala. — 6.9%
- Atlanta — 6.8%
- Denver — 6.7%
- Salt Lake City — 6.5%
- Jacksonville, Fla. — 6.3%
Top-Paying Cities in 2020 for Physicians
Milwaukee, in the number one position for the second year in a row, also had the highest average compensation for female physicians (though it was $79,027 less than male doctors). For 2020, the top-paying cities for physicians and average annual salaries were:
- Milwaukee — $430,274
- Atlanta — $428,244
- Jacksonville, Fla. — $427,090
- Buffalo, N.Y. — $407,070
- Orlando, Fla. — $406,587
- Raleigh, N.C. — $406,365
- Charlotte, N.C. — $404,285
- Minneapolis — $401,978
- Riverside, Calif. — $397,005
- Dallas — $396,184
New entries on the 2020 list were two North Carolina cities (Raleigh and Charlotte), two in Florida (Jacksonville and Orlando), and Buffalo, New York.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest-paying city for physicians was San Antonio, Texas, with an average yearly salary of $329,475.