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North Carolina Physician Shortage Facts

Physician supply lags behind patient demand nationally and across North Carolina. As supply falls, patients wait longer to see a doctor, and doctors burn out.

The U.S. is projected to have 120,000 too few doctors nationally.1,2,3

  • Nearly 40% of American physicians will reach retirement age.
  • The United States will face a shortage of over 120,000 physicians.

North Carolina is projected to be short 7,725 doctors.4,5

  • Primary care alone is projected to be short 1,885 providers.
  • There are only 506 residency slots in North Carolina for primary care each year.
  • 45.2% of those residents will practice out of state.

North Carolina ranks in the bottom half of states for primary care and physician availability.6

92 of North Carolina’s 100 counties are health professional shortage areas (HPSAs).7,8,9

  • Low-income citizens are disproportionately affected by these shortages.
  • HPSA designations indicate areas where there are 3,500 or more patients for every one provider.
  • 2,229,951 North Carolina residents live in an HPSA.

North Carolina’s physician-to-patient ratio is 10% worse than the national average: