American and Soviet medical manpower: growth and evolution, 1910-1970

Int J Health Serv. 1975;5(3):455-74. doi: 10.2190/WRDE-WFNA-T1D7-33RT.


Between 1910 and 1970 the number of physicians in the United States increased 2.5 times, in Soviet Russia almost 25 times. The number of physicians per constant unit of population remained fairly stable in the United States, rising slightly in the last few years. In the U.S.S.R. that number increased 16 to 18 times, and now stands about 50 per cent higher than in the United States. About 10 per cent of American physicians are women; in the U.S.S.R. it is about 70 per cent. Neither society has resolved the problem of deploying physicians to the rural areas. American physicians are more specialized than their Soviet colleagues. The article concludes with general remarks about the two health systems, pointing out resemblances and divergences. The hypothesis of a possible "convergence" is entertained.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Economics, Medical
  • Education, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Physicians, Women / supply & distribution
  • Population Density
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Rural Health
  • Russia
  • Specialization
  • United States
  • Workforce