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Decades after the civil rights movement, one can only assume that there would not be racial inequality in any profession today. According to UCLA researchers, we might not have come as far as we think.

No Black doctors

In their report, the researchers noted that in the last 120 years, the proportion of Black doctors has only grown by 4%. Furthermore, the proportion of Black male doctors is the same as it was in 1940.

The research also reveals that there is a significant pay gap between Black and Caucasian doctors. Researchers attribute this to several factors, including unequal career opportunities and pay discrimination.

Assistant Professor of medicine at UCLA and lead author Dr. Dan Ly says that this is a clear indication that there’s still a lot to be done in diversifying the physician workforce. He adds that the diversification of physicians also dramatically impacts the health needs of minority groups.

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed US Census Bureau records from 1900 to 2018, encompassing 150,000 doctors, only 4900 of Black.

According to the records, only 1.3% of physicians were Black in 1900 in an African-American population of 11.6% in the US. Forty years later, 9.7% of the population was African-American, and only 2.8% of doctors were Black (2.7% men, 0.01 women). Seventy-eight years later, in 2018, African-Americans make up 12.8% of the population, with only 5.8% of doctors being Black (2.8% female, 2.6% male). 

More female than Black male doctors

From 1940 to 2018, there has been a 2.79% leap in Black female doctors. Black male doctors, on the other hand, have remained the same. Dr. Ly explains that if doctors are more representative of the general population, more measures need to be implemented to bridge this gap.

Talking of gaps, in 1940, there was a $68,000 pay gap between Caucasian and Black male doctors. By 2018, the gap had reduced to $50,000. While this is an improvement, it’s still a considerable gap.