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Age distribution of licensed physician workforce

Age distribution of licensed physician workforce


In 2014, 12.9% of all licensed physicians were aged <35 and 14.9% were aged 65+. The largest concentration of physicians (25.4%) is in the middle age group, 45-54.

The distribution of Family Physicians across all age cohorts is nearly symmetrical, with the <35 and 65+ cohorts each comprising 13.4% of Family Physicians. As with the total physician workforce, Family Physicians aged 45-54 represent the largest single age group (26.4%) among Family Physicians.

In 2014, higher proportions of Medical and Surgical Specialists were aged 65+ (16.8% and 17.3%, respectively) compared to the total physician workforce (14.9%). Unlike the other broad specialties, Laboratory Specialists are most commonly aged 55-64, with this age group representing 29.4% of all physicians in this broad specialty.

Key Observations

  • In 2014, the only specialties that have more physicians in the <35 age cohort than in the 65+ age cohort are among the Medical specialties; specifically, Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiation Oncology and Medical Genetics;
    • For both Anesthesiology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the differences in the proportion of physicians who are aged <35 compared to those who are aged 65+ is less than a percentage (11.7% vs. 10.8% and 15.5% vs. 14.6% respectively);
    • For Royal College Emergency Medicine specialists, the difference of those aged <35 compared to those 65+ is greater (21.5% vs. 7.5%);
    • For Radiation Oncology, 13.4% of physicians are aged <35 and 6.9% are aged 65+
    • Among Medical Geneticists, 14.3% are aged <35 and 11.2% are aged 65+.
  • Of the 31 specialties reported, Internal Medicine is the only one where the most common age category is 65+ (22.3%).
  • All of the surgical specialties have more physicians in the 65+ age group than in the <35 age group (17.3% vs. 11.9% overall).
    • For every Cardiac Surgeon aged <35 there are approximately 5 aged 65+ (3.1% vs. 15.3%);
    • For Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery there is roughly one licensed physician aged <35 for every two physicians aged 65+ and, as shown in the Medical Workforce Supply Overview, both have seen reductions in residency positions and new trainees;
    • Ophthalmology also has twice as many physicians aged 65+ compared to those aged <35, but has seen recent increases in its number of R1 positions and new trainees (see the Medical Workforce Supply Overview).

Age distribution of licensed physician workforce (PDF)

Age distribution of licensed physician workforce (Spreadsheet)