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Insights into Physician Wealth and Debt

Medscape recently released its annual Physician Wealth and Debt Report, a survey of over 13,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties. The respondents share insights into their compensation, investments, and budgets.

Overall, the past few years have negatively affected physicians’ incomes due largely to the pandemic. However, as practices have reopened and patients have begun returning to their doctors’ offices, the report shows that physician incomes have begun rebounding. Some highlights from 2021:

In 2021, the average income for physicians overall was $339,000.

Primary care physicians averaged $260,000.

Specialists averaged $368,000.


Many physicians report holding at least some debt. Although doctors owe mortgage payments on their homes at about the same rate as other Americans, physicians also deal with the costly effects of medical school debt.

  • Up to 31% of physicians are working to pay off student loans.
  • On average, physicians in the U.S. pay between $356,000 to $440,000 over time for their educations, with $165,000 to $240,000 of that being interest.

Most physicians surveyed (93%) report that they live within or below their means, and 61% were able to set aside more money for savings than last year. 91% of respondents regularly contributed money to a 401(k) retirement account or tax-deferred college savings account.


On average, male physicians earn more than female physicians and generally report a higher net worth. There is also a lower percentage of women working in the higher-earning specialty fields. A gap in wealth exists between White and non-White physicians. The share of White physicians with a net worth exceeding $1 million (63%) is higher than that of Asian American doctors (57%), Latinx/Hispanic doctors (49%), and Black doctors (38%).

For more insights, read the entire report here.

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