The results of the 2002 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) reflect a persistent decline of student interest in family practice residency training in the United States. Compared with the 2001 Match, six fewer positions (103 fewer US seniors) were filled in family practice residency programs through the NRMP in 2002, as well as 48 fewer (30 fewer US seniors) in primary care internal medicine, 1 fewer in pediatrics-primary care (8 more US seniors), and 45 fewer (45 fewer US seniors) in internal medicine-pediatric programs. In comparison, 43 more positions (70 more US seniors) were filled in anesthesiology, but 11 fewer (16 fewer US seniors) in diagnostic radiology, two "marker" disciplines that have shown increases over the past 3 years. Eight fewer positions (60 fewer US seniors) were also filled in categorical internal medicine while 99 fewer positions (142 fewer US seniors) were filled in categorical pediatrics programs, where trainees perceive options for either practicing as generalists or entering subspecialty fellowships, depending on the market. While the needs of the nation, especially rural and underserved populations, continue to offer opportunities for family physicians, family practice experienced a fifth year of decline through the 2002 NRMP. Many different forces, however, are impacting medical student career choices, including student perspectives of the demands, rewards, and prestige of the specialty, the turbulence and uncertainty of the health care environment, liability protection issues, and the impact of faculty and resident role models. The 2002 NRMP results may herald the leveling of recent trends away from family practice careers.