The influence of race and gender on family physicians' annual incomes

J Am Board Fam Med. 2006 Nov-Dec;19(6):548-56. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.19.6.548.


Purpose: Specialty, work effort, and gender have been shown to be associated with physicians' annual incomes. We hypothesized that provider race might also be associated with differences in family physicians' incomes. Therefore, we conducted a study that used survey data to explore the relationship between provider gender and race and family physicians' annual incomes.

Methods: We used survey responses collected by the American Medical Association (AMA) throughout the 1990s from 786 white male, 20 black male, 159 white female, and 12 black female actively practicing family physicians. We then used linear regression modeling to determine the influence of race and gender on physicians' annual incomes after controlling for work effort, provider characteristics, and practice characteristics.

Results: Female family physicians reported seeing substantially fewer patients and working fewer annual hours than their male counterparts. After adjustment for work effort, provider characteristics, and practice characteristics, black men's mean annual income was 178,873 dollars, or 9,309 dollars (5.5%) higher than that for white men (95% Confidence Interval (CI), -18,410 dollars to 37,028 dollars); white women's was 135,531 dollars, or 14,579 dollars (8.6%) lower (95% CI, -25,969 dollars to -3,189 dollars); and black women's was 107,733 dollars, or 36,963 dollars (22%) lower (95% CI, -71,450 dollars to -2,476 dollars).

Conclusions: During the 1990s, female gender was associated with lower annual incomes among family physicians, substantially so for black women. These findings warrant further exploration to determine what factors might cause the gender-based income differences that we found.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • American Medical Association
  • Black or African American*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Physicians, Family / economics*
  • Sex Factors
  • United States
  • White People*