Five Years Later: Continuing Disparity in the Geographic Density and Distribution of U.S. Dermatologists

Main Article Content

Christopher Nguyen
Quoc-Bao Nguyen
Kyle Lauck
Adelaide Hebert


Maldistribution, geographic density, dermatologist distribution


Objectives: A discrepancy exists in the geographical distribution of dermatologists across the United States (US). The aim of this study was to reexamine the current geographical density of dermatologists to describe any changes compared to date from 5 and 12 years ago.

Methods: Membership data from the 2021 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) database were retrieved to characterize the distribution of dermatologists in 3-digit zip code areas.

Results: Out of 712 populated zip codes with dermatologists, 510 (71.6%) had less than 4 dermatologists per 100,000, as compared to 515 (72.3%) in 2016 (– 0.19% CAGR). The dermatologist density of the 100 most populated areas (M = 4.5 dermatologists per 100,000, SD = 3.3) and 100 least populated areas (M = 1.6 dermatologists per 100,000, SD = 6.2) were significantly different (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: This analysis provides continued trends to compare to previous studies performed in 2016 and 2009. The highest and lowest density areas were similar to results from previous studies. The results indicate an enduring and significant maldistribution of dermatologists in the US.


1. Ehrlich A, Kostecki J, Olkaba H. Trends in dermatology practices and the implications for the workforce. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;77(4):746-752. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.06.030

2. Yoo JY, Rigel DS. Trends in dermatology: geographic density of US dermatologists. Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(7):779. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.127

3. Glazer AM, Farberg AS, Winkelmann RR, et al. Analysis of Trends in Geographic Distribution and Density of US Dermatologists. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(4):322-325. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.5411

4. Aneja S, Aneja S, Bordeaux JS. Association of increased dermatologist density with lower melanoma mortality. Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(2):174-178. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.345

5. Criscito MC, Martires KJ, Stein JA. A population-based cohort study on the association of dermatologist density and Merkel cell carcinoma survival. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;76(3):570-572. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2016.10.043

6. Feng H, Berk-Krauss J, Feng PW, et al. Comparison of Dermatologist Density Between Urban and Rural Counties in the United States. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(11):1265–1271. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.3022

7. Coustasse A, Sarkar R, Abodunde B, et al. Use of Teledermatology to Improve Dermatological Access in Rural Areas. Telemed J E Health. 2019;25(11):1022-1032. doi:10.1089/tmj.2018.0130. Epub 2019 Feb 11. PMID: 30741608.

8. Adamson AS, Suarez EA, McDaniel P, Leiphart PA, Zeitany A, Kirby JS. Geographic Distribution of Nonphysician Clinicians Who Independently Billed Medicare for Common Dermatologic Services in 2014. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(1):30-36. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.5039

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>