Study: More than Half NJ Medical Residents Are International Medical Grads

January 5, 2016
Gale Scott

Whether it is because of geography, family ties, or greater availability of training slots, New Jersey has a higher percentage of international medical graduates in its medical residency programs than any other state.

Whether it is because of geography, family ties, or greater availability of training slots, New Jersey has a higher percentage of international medical graduates in its medical residency programs than any other state.

According to data published last month by the Association of American Medical Colleges, 53.4% of those NJ-based residencies were held by doctors who trained abroad. That percentage is far higher than the totals in other states offering programs in the New York City metropolitan region. New York State’s percentage of IMGs in such programs is 41.1% compared to 34.5% in Connecticut and 24.9% in Pennsylvania.

Competition to get into residencies in New York City could be playing a role in the imbalance—in cases where applicants who wanted to be in the NYC region but did not match with a program in NYC opted to take a spot in NJ as a second choice. Since US-educated physicians traditionally have an edge in getting into programs, that could mean IMGs found it harder to get residencies there but saw there were more slots available in NJ where the competition may be less heated.

New York has 15 medical schools, seven of them in NYC while NJ has only four medical schools--though it is unclear how that might affect the availability or desirability of residency slots in NJ.

The AAMC found that states’ percentages of practicing physicians who are IMGs is a bit more balanced.

Though 38.4% of all practicing physicians in NJ are IMGs, New York is close behind. IMGs make up 37.1% of total practicing physicians in NY.

The East Coast trend is dramatically different from that in California, where only 10.0% of residencies are filled by IMGs and IMGs make up 21.3% of all practicing physicians.

Being a border state sometimes ups the IMG percentage, seen in a rate of 25.5% IMGs in residencies in Arizona (where 23.3% of practicing doctors are IMGs) and a rate of 21.5% of IMGs in residencies in Texas (where 25.1% of practicing physicians are IMGs.)

State profiles are available here.

The fact that nearly 40 % of NJ's doctors are IMGs was also reported and discussed in the Star Ledger of Newark, NJ.