South Dakota’s nickname may be the Mount Rushmore State, but for physicians it’s the land of opportunity, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

South Dakota took the top spot in the 2018 list of the “best states to practice medicine” with 75.97 out of a possible 100 points while New Jersey took up residence at the other end of the list by finishing 51st (the District of Columbia was included) with a score of 40.24, WalletHub reported.

South Dakota headed a solid block of states in the upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions that made up the entire top 10, with Nebraska second overall, Idaho third, Iowa (last year’s winner) fourth, and Minnesota fifth. Finishing just above New Jersey were Rhode Island in 50th, New York in 49th, Hawaii in 48th, and D.C. in 47th.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and D.C. using 16 different metrics across two broad categories: “opportunity and competition” (11 metrics worth 70 points) and “medical environment” (5 metrics worth 30 points). Metrics included physicians’ average annual wage (adjusted for cost of living), employer-based insurance rates, projected share of elderly population, physician assistants per capita, and malpractice award payout amount per capita.

South Dakota, which ranked first in the medical environment category and third in opportunity and competition, posted top-5 scores in such areas as adjusted physician annual wage, lowest projected competition, and annual malpractice liability insurance rate, according to the survey.


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