Skip to main content

All Access Subscription

Get unlimited access to our full publication and article library.

Get Access Now

Interested in Group Sales? Learn more

Which Cities Offer the Highest Physician Compensation? Results May Be Surprising

SAN FRANCISCO — This might seem counterintuitive, but the cities with the highest costs of living usually don’t pay physicians the most.

In fact, cities near rural areas and those with lower expenses tended to have higher physician compensation than major metropolitan areas such as New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, according to the first annual Doximity Physician Compensation Report.

To reach that conclusion, the social network for physicians and advanced practice clinicians compiled survey responses from 36,000 verified physicians who practice at least 40 hours a week. The survey began in late 2014 and ended in early 2017.

The top five markets for overall physician compensation were:

  1. Charlotte, NC ($359,455);
  2. Bridgeport, CT ($353,925);
  3. Phoenix ($351,677);
  4. Milwaukee ($345,831);
  5. Houston ($345,079).

The top five cities for compensation paid to primary care and family medicine physicians also included Charlotte, Bridgeport, and Phoenix, but replaced Milwaukee and Houston with Minneapolis and Indianapolis.

The bottom five metro areas for overall physician salaries were:

  1. Durham, NC ($267,598);
  2. Ann Arbor, MI. ($272,398);
  3. Baltimore ($281,005);
  4. Charleston, SC ($285,933);
  5. Washington, DC. ($286,242).

“As the largest medical social network, Doximity has unmatched insight into many of the important issues that impact the medical community,” said Nate Gross, MD, the company’s co-founder. “Considering that the cost of a medical education can be upwards of $250,000, sharing detailed data on compensation can be particularly helpful. Moreover, the trends identified in this report can provide all stakeholders a view into those areas of the medical labor market that require more attention.”


Interestingly, Charlotte, with the highest pay levels overall, also topped the list of cities with the greatest gender wage gap. Female physicians there earned, on average, 33% less than men, or about $125,035. The other metro areas with the most significant disparity by gender include:

  1. Durham, NC (31% less, or $90,480);
  2. Orlando, FL (30% less, or $107,942);
  3. Pittsburgh (30% less, or $100,956);
  4. Bridgeport, CT (29% less, or $110,582).

Average salaries for female physicians were dramatically higher in the following urban areas:

  1. Minneapolis ($290,747);
  2. Phoenix ($290,536);
  3. Milwaukee ($287,950);
  4. Indianapolis ($281,987);
  5. Dallas ($278,825).

Female doctors fared especially poorly compared to their male colleagues if they practiced pediatric rheumatology, gastroenterology, pediatric endocrinology, occupational medicine, and vascular surgery, results suggest.