State by state

Best and worst states for doctor work, life happiness, according to Medscape

For maximum satisfaction at work and at home, Medscape suggests physicians consider relocating to North Dakota, Hawaii or Nebraska.


The conditions of a physician’s employment—factors like salary, malpractice rates and patient population—are critical to job satisfaction. But when deciding where to practice, physicians should also weigh things related to life outside work, such as a state’s general well-being, average life expectancy and unemployment rate, reported Medscape (login required) in its list of the best and worst states for practicing medicine in 2018.

This year, Medscape balanced influences affecting life inside and outside the workplace to create its rankings. The publisher also considered each state’s average physician burnout rate. This year’s list is a departure from 2017, when Medscape focused on physician burnout to rank states.

Hawaii, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Connecticut are all new additions to the top 10 list, for various reasons. Although it has a high cost of living, Hawaii also boasts the nation’s highest rating for well-being and longest average life expectancy, at 81 years. Both Nebraska and Utah have low physician burnout rates paired with high average doctor salaries. Colorado landed in seventh place mostly due to its high ratings in well-being, lifespan, public health and other factors impacting life outside of work. Although it has a high physician burnout rate, Connecticut ranked high in health care quality, average lifespan and public health.

Here are the top 10 states for physician work and life happiness, according to Medscape:

1. North Dakota
2. Hawaii
3. Nebraska
4. Vermont
5. Iowa
6. New Hampshire
7. Colorado
8. Minnesota
9. Utah
10. Connecticut

These are the worst five states for physician work-life balance, according to Medscape:

1. West Virginia
2. Louisiana
3. Mississippi
4. Kentucky
5. New Mexico

See the full list and methodology at Medscape (login required).

More stories about physician state rankings:

Best and worst states for doctors in 2018: How’s medicine where you live? Physicians in the Great Plains states are treated better than those in states with heavily populated urban centers, WalletHub analysis finds.

Stressed out? Medscape says you should move to one of these states. When Medscape ranked the 2017 best and worst states for doctors, they focused on factors likely to alleviate—and cause—burnout.


  1. Raja

    This really should be broken down by ethnicity. I seriously doubt a high quality of life in North Dakota, Nebraska, or Iowa (see Steve King) for physicians of color, Muslim or Latino physicians.

  2. Rance

    So in March and October of 2017, The DO published similar efforts from two other sources, Physicians Practice and WalletHub who both list Mississippi in the top 10. Physicians practice names them #1, yet they are in the bottom 5 here. Just more evidence that these lists mean nothing in general. Find what is the best state for YOU and go with it.

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