The Influence of Race and Gender on Family Physicians' Annual Incomes

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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.


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.


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, or $9,309 (5.5%) higher than that for white men (95% Confidence Interval (CI), −$18,410 to $37,028); white women's was $135,531, or $14,579 (8.6%) lower (95% CI, −$25,969 to −$3,189); and black women's was $107,733, or $36,963 (22%) lower (95% CI, −$71,450 to −$2,476).


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.

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