A study by Seabury, Jena, and their colleagues found pay gaps in physician income by race and gender. Analysis of earnings data from two national surveys—the USC Census American Community Survey and the Health Systems Change Physician Surveys—showed a startling pattern of male physicians earning more than female physicians and white male physicians earning more than black male physicians. White male physicians had an adjusted median annual income almost $65,000 more—35% higher—than black male physicians, with both earning substantially more than their female counterparts. Even more startling, white female doctors were found to have an adjusted median annual income of $163,234 compared to $152,784 for black female doctors, though this difference was not statistically significant. Thus, the difference between the median annual income of white male doctors and black female doctors was found to be more than $100,000. The authors posit factors like sub-specializations, bargaining power in salary negotiations, discrimination by employers and patients, and differences in clinical revenue as important considerations that might influence the income disparities.
Citation: Ly, D. P., Seabury, S. A., & Jena, A. B. (2016). Differences in Incomes of Physicians in the United States by Race and Sex: Observational Study. The BMJ.