The nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals contribute substantially to the nation’s economy, with their patient care, education, and research adding more than $728 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and supporting more of 7 million jobs, according to an AAMC report.
“Medical schools and teaching hospitals are economic engines, generating and supporting substantial employment and economic development for surrounding communities,” according to the report.
The study reached this conclusion by measuring both the direct effects – that is, the money spent to run the institutions (such as staffing) – and the secondary effects of what the institutions and their employees spend with other companies.
Findings are based on 2019 data (before COVID-19 began) from 154 medical schools and 258 teaching hospitals in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The report includes a state-by-state breakdown of the economic impacts.
Among the highlights:
Medical schools and teaching hospitals contributed more than $728 billion to the country’s GDP.
- This represented 3.2% of total US GDP, which is comparable to the size of the GDP contribution of the transportation and warehousing sector, and the accommodation and food services sector (such as as defined and calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor).
- This contribution amounted to $2,218 in economic benefits for each inhabitant of the country.
- Every dollar spent by AAMC member institutions contributed $1.62 to the economy.
The contribution to individual state economies included $4 billion in Utah, $17 billion in North Carolina and $27 billion in Illinois.
Spending by AAMC member institutions supported 7.1 million jobs (full-time and part-time), representing 4.4% of all jobs in the United States.
Three million of those were “direct jobs,” where employees worked for medical schools and teaching hospitals. These include nurses, faculty members, and administrative staff.
- Spending on these jobs (including wages, salaries and benefits) totaled $232 billion.
- The average annual salary was $77,455.
The remaining 4.1 million were “side jobs,” meaning jobs at companies where medical schools and hospitals purchased supplies and services (such as medical devices and awareness campaigns public), as well as in businesses where employees of institutions spent money (such as local shops and restaurants).
Among the states with the most jobs supported by medical schools and teaching hospitals are New York (628,700), California (495,400) and Minnesota (323,500).
Looking at research enterprises at medical schools and teaching hospitals, the report found that their total impacts contributed to:
- 33 billion dollars to the country’s GDP
- $21 billion in labor income
- 348,000 jobs
Among individual states, research job contributions included about 2,600 in Iowa, 7,200 in Florida, and 15,500 in Washington state.
The study was conducted for the AAMC by RTI International. It updates a 2018 report which found that medical schools and teaching hospitals supported more than 6.3 million jobs and generated about 3.1% of GDP at that time.