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November 11, 1968

Manpower Problems in the Allied Health Field

Author Affiliations

From the Conservation of Human Resources Project, Columbia University and the Department of Economics, Queens College of the City University of New York.

JAMA. 1968;206(7):1542-1544. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150070080014

In a recent study of American science policy by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the following statement appeared: "This [referring to the United States] is a new country looking for a better division of labor and constantly growing productivity; one agricultural worker for 6.95 people in 1900, one for 39.97 in 1964" (New York Times [Jan 13, 1963] p 10).

In other words, the agricultural worker of 1964 was about six times more productive than his 1900 counterpart. How has the health worker fared by comparison? In 1900, there were about 200,000 health workers in a total population of some 76 million or one health worker for 380 people; in 1964 there were roughly 3 million health workers and a population of approximately 197 million or one health worker for 66 people.1-3 If the 1964 health worker was as productive as the 1964 agricultural worker, we