10 best cities for physicians in the U.S. in 2023

September 6th, 2023 18 Min read 10 best cities for physicians in the U.S. in 2023 Blog

If you're looking to relocate, you might be wondering which places are the best cities for physicians to live in. We’ve got you covered! We put together a list of the top 10 cities for physicians based on a variety of criteria, including physician pay, pay growth, cost of living, and general livability.

So, whether you're a seasoned practitioner on the hunt for the next step in your journey or a recent medical graduate aiming to put down roots, these 10 best cities are great places for physicians to live and work at any stage in their career.

10. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis skyline

With one of the best physician pay rates ($408,199), a physician compensation growth of 2.5% from 2021 to 2022, and low rates of adverse and malpractice actions, it’s no wonder Indiana made Medscape’s list of Best Places to Practice. Couple that with a low cost of living and inexpensive housing, and Indiana is a great place to practice medicine.

From the world’s largest children’s museum to professional and college sports and miles of recreational trails, Indianapolis has something to offer everybody. Often referred to as the Racing Capital of the World, Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which hosts one of the country’s largest sporting events. If racing’s not your thing, check out White River State Park, which runs through the city alongside a canal, museums, and lots of green space.

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City skyline

Living in Utah, you’ll have easy access to five national parks and seven national monuments. And get this: the drive from Intermountain Medical Center, the largest hospital in Salt Lake, to Snowbird, one of the best ski resorts in the U.S., is a total of 28 minutes. Or you can drive 40 minutes to Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival and more great skiing.

Although Utah is known for its outdoor attractions, Salt Lake City is a major metropolitan area. And you can expect all the amenities that go along with that — from shopping to professional sports to a lively and diverse restaurant scene. 

If that’s not enough reason to live in Utah, the state ranks No. 6 on Medscape’s list of Best Places to Practice and is in the low end of physician density. Although malpractice actions are few, the premiums are high. However, Salt Lake City is in the top 10 for best physician pay ($408,044) and saw a 2.9% compensation growth for physicians between 2021 and 2022. 

But seriously, let’s not kid ourselves. If ending your shift at 5 p.m. and hitting the slopes for night skiing by 5:45 p.m. doesn’t make Salt Lake a top city for physicians, what would?

8. San Jose, California

San Jose skyline

According to Medscape, nearly 80% of medical residents stay in California after their residency due to economic opportunity and the variety in community and natural environments. The state does have a higher cost of living, but malpractice premiums are relatively low. San Jose also has one of the best physician compensation rates ($418,600) and saw a compensation growth of 2.4% for physicians from 2021 to 2022.

Coming in at lucky No. 13 on U.S. News’ list of Best Places to Live, San Jose is a sprawling metro area with diversity and innovation. In addition to having 300 sunny days a year, the city also offers a variety of activities for its residents, including vineyards, the ocean, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

7. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls skyline

According to WalletHub’s list of Best & Worst States for Doctors, South Dakota is the second-best place to practice medicine and ranks No. 7 on Medscape’s Best Places list. In addition to having two major health systems, the state also has one of the lowest malpractice award payout amounts per capita.

Ranked the No. 5 best place to live in America by Livability, Sioux Falls offers a cost of living 6% below the national average and has a friendly tax climate and affordable housing. With over 80 parks, nearly 30 miles of bike paths along the Big Sioux River, and museums and national parks in the area, Sioux Falls is the place to be for physicians with families.

6. Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville skyline

Although physician pay is mid-range in Alabama ($361,483), residents can take advantage of the fourth lowest cost of living in the country. And even though Medscape ranks Alabama No. 23 on its list of best places to practice medicine due to the challenges of treating a less healthy, less insured population, the state is becoming a powerhouse in biomedical and engineering research.

Once a sleepy farming town, Huntsville is now one of Alabama’s fastest-growing metro areas and has the most educated population in the state. Since gaining recognition during the 1960s Space Race, the city now has a large NASA presence, and residents can even visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in their free time. With a growing population and revitalized downtown, it’s no wonder Huntsville took the No. 2 spot on U.S. News’ list of Best Places to Live.

5. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison skyline

According to Medscape, Wisconsin is the fourth-best state in the United States to practice medicine with the primary reason being the state has the smallest number of malpractice filings and the second lowest malpractice premiums.

A college town, Madison is safe and well-educated and ranks No. 11 on U.S. News’s list of Best Places to Live. After work, residents can enjoy art and music festivals and stroll through museums like the Chazen Museum of Art. You can also explore the nearby five lakes or the 1200-mile Ice Age Trail.

4. Boise, Idaho

Boise skyline

In Medscape’s study, 63% of doctors who completed their residency in Idaho decided to stay and establish their careers there. If you get the opportunity to work and live in Idaho, you may not want to leave. This is especially true if you like mountains, rivers, lakes, and outdoor activities in general. Add to that the state’s relatively low taxes, and it’s no wonder Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in recent years.

As for Boise, the city consistently makes all kinds of top lists, from best downtowns to best places to raise a family and best places to live. According to Forbes, it’s even a best city for yoga.

With Idaho’s low malpractice premiums and low rates of lawsuits and payouts along with having the lowest physician density in the country, Boise is a great option for physicians to live and work.

3. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green bay skyline

In addition to being the fourth-best state in which to practice medicine, and with the smallest number of malpractice filings, Wisconsin is consistently among the top 10 for physician earnings. The state also falls in the middle for cost of living and tax burden and offers reasonable housing prices.

Although the entire state is a good place to be a doctor, U.S. News recently ranked Green Bay as the No.1 city to live in the United States citing its small-town feel with big-city amenities. There are also two university campuses nearby to satisfy any research inclinations, and the area offers lots of fun things to do on days off — like exploring nearby Door County (a.k.a. Cape Cod of the Midwest) or hitting up a Green Bay Packers game with fellow cheeseheads at Lambeau Field (nicknamed the Frozen Tundra). Don’t forget your parka and gloves!

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis skyline

Not only is Minneapolis the fifth-highest paying city for physicians ($411,677), but Minnesota ranks No. 3 by Medscape as a best state to practice in for its low rate of malpractice suits, adverse actions, and premiums. Additionally, the state is projected to have one of the lowest rates of physician competition by 2028.

In addition to having a large healthcare system and around 200 universities and colleges, Minnesota’s also a dream for outdoor enthusiasts with more than 11,000 lakes, including Lake Superior, and six national park sites — many within close proximity to the Twin Cities.

1. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh skyline

Raleigh’s conveniently located two hours from the ocean and two hours from the mountains, giving residents the best of both worlds when it comes to outdoor adventure. Or maybe you're interested in music? Recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as a top city for emerging music, Raleigh has a great downtown and vibrant nightlife. So, regardless of what you like to do for fun, you’ll find plenty of options when you live and work in Raleigh.

Although the city doesn’t boast the highest annual physician pay on our list ($351,732), it ranks No. 5 on Medscape’s list of best places for physicians. The area also consistently ranks as one of the most educated cities in the United States, and the K-12 schools similarly pull in top rankings. Additionally, North Carolina and its largest private insurer are working together to transform how healthcare is delivered statewide — resulting in the state being recognized as the most innovative healthcare state in America.

Wherever you choose to live, CompHealth can help you find the perfect physician job. Give us a call or view today's physician job opportunities.


Elizabeth Cornwall

Liz is a communications manager based in Salt Lake City. For more than a decade, she’s done a little bit of everything in the communications world — from writing about locum tenens and travel nursing, to working as an executive speech writer, to becoming a social media influencer in the world of micro goldendoodles.

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