2010 Edition — California Physician Facts and Figures

Craig Paxton


California’s supply of physicians has been growing faster than the overall population in recent years, rising 7% since 1998. Demand for physicians is expected to rise, as the senior population grows, and as more individuals obtain health insurance as a result of health care reform. With large numbers of physicians nearing retirement, and not all doctors taking patients with private or public insurance, those seeking care, especially in some regions, could have difficulty finding a provider. This report draws from numerous sources to describe the market landscape for physician services in California.

Key findings include:

  • California barely meets the nationally recognized standard for supply of primary care physicians. Only the Orange, Sacramento , and Greater Bay Area regions meet the recommended supply.
  • Eighty-four percent of PCPs are accepting new patients, and just over half are accepting new Medi-Cal patients.
  • Nearly 30% of physicians are over 60 years old — a higher percentage than any other state.
  • While Latinos represent almost 40% of the population, only 5% of the state’s physicians are Latinos, which could have implications for language and cultural aspects of care.
  • California draws a substantial portion of physicians, especially PCPs, from foreign and out-of-state medical schools.
  • While family and general practitioner compensation has been rising, they earned only 88% of the national average in 2008.

The full report is available for download below. This material is part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of California’s Health Care Workforce.