2020’s Best & Worst States for Doctors – WalletHub

With doctors on the front lines against the threat of coronavirus, National Doctors’ Day coming up on March 30 and “physician” being the highest-paid job of 2019, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2020’s Best & Worst States for Doctors.

To identify the best states for those in the business of saving lives, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 19 key metrics. The data set ranges from average annual wage of physicians to hospitals per capita to quality of public hospital system.

Best States for Doctors

  1. Montana
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Idaho
  4. North Dakota
  5. Minnesota
  6. Kansas
  7. Iowa
  8. Tennessee
  9. Mississippi
  10. Nebraska

Worst States for Doctors

  1. Hawaii
  2. Delaware
  3. Maryland
  4. District of Columbia
  5. New Jersey
  6. Alaska
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New York

Best vs. Worst

  • Mississippi has the highest average annual wage for surgeons (adjusted for cost of living), $313,491, which is 2.1 times higher than in the California, the lowest at $152,850.
  • Minnesota has the lowest number of physicians per 1,000 residents, 1.09, which is 6.2 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at 6.71.
  • Florida has the highest projected share of the population aged 65 and older by 2030, 27.08 percent, which is two times higher than in Utah, the lowest at 13.21 percent.
  • Wisconsin has the lowest annual malpractice liability insurance rate, $6,699, which is 6.1 times lower than in New York, the highest at $40,826.
  • The state with the best Medical Environment* is Montana, while Wyoming has the worst.

*Medical Environment considers the following factors: Quality of Public Hospital System, Hospitals Safety – Percentage of “A” Hospitals, Presence of Nationally Accredited Health Departments, Physician Assistants per Capita, Punitiveness of State Medical Board, Malpractice Award Payout Amount per Capita, Annual Malpractice Liability Insurance Rate, and Physician Burnout.


Even in states that offer high salaries, doctors face many challenges. Physician burnout is common and the threat of malpractice lawsuits are ever-present. If you are considering becoming a physician, read our article Should You Become a Medical Doctor? to help make the right career decision.