Physicians in the Mid-Atlantic earn less money — pulling in an average of $282,000 — than in any other region in the nation, according to a new compensation report based on a recent survey of more than 19,000 doctors.

Physicians in the north-central region of the country make the most, an average of $317,000, reported Medscape, a news website for medical professionals. The national average: $294,000 ($217,000 for primary-care doctors and $316,000 for specialists).

The lowest-in-the-nation earnings for the Mid-Atlantic are partly a result of how the region was defined.  New Jersey ranked No. 26 among the states, with physicians earning $298,000 a year. Pennsylvania came in at No. 37, with doctors taking home $289,000.

Average Physician Pay

Staff Graphic

Americans' median household income was $56,000 in 2015, the most recent year available from the census. But most Americans don't face the education debt and professional expenses of physicians.

According to the survey, most physicians say they aren't in it for the money: Just 13 percent said making a good living was the most rewarding aspect of their job. Male primary-care doctors' pay averaged 16 percent higher than females'.

Other highlights from the annual Medscape Physician Compensation Report, which was based on more than 19,000 survey responses between Dec. 20 and March 7:

Pay 

  • Earnings were up about 5 percent from last year's survey, similar to increases in each of the last several years.
  • Orthopedists make the most ($489,000), pediatricians the least ($202,000).