Time trends in the association of a rural or urban background with physician location

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Abstract

The association of rural or urban background with choice of practice location was investigated in two time periods, 1950--1955 and 1963--1968, using the alumni of Marquette School of Medicine (now the Medical College of Wisconsin) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Background included size of communities of birth, high school, college, and internship. Small communities were screened to distinguish suburban from rural settings. It was found that in the 1950s the percentage of physicians from rural schools who chose to practice in rural areas was 2.2 times as great as this percentage for physicians from nonrural high schools (26 percent versus 12 percent). In the 1960s the ratio increased to 3.5, (35 percent versus 10 percent). This time trend was reversed for physicians more than 28 years old at the time of graduation from medical school. Place of birth and place of internship also were significantly associated with practice location; place of college showed a significant association with practice location only in the 1950s; and class rank was not associated with place of practice.

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