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A survey of United States medical manpower recently published by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare1 and aimed at presenting "basic data on the number, distribution, and characteristics of physicians" is of interest to ophthalmologists. The data consist of comparable statistics for 1931 and 1961-1962 culled from the files of the AMA, the American Medical Directory, American Specialty Boards, and miscellaneous other sources. Figures for the earlier period necessitated considering ophthalmology and otolaryngology together, as the AMA did not eliminate the combined category until 1962.
Of the 156,406 physicians in the United States and its territories in 1931, a total of 22,158 or 14% were listed as specialists of one type or another. By contrast, in 1962 the total number of physicians was 257,000 with 99,595 or 38.4% specialists. Of these specialists approximately one third were ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists in 1931 but only one eighth in 1962. Ophthalmology-otolaryngology
R. CW. Figures—Then and Now. Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;71(5):609-610. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970010625001