Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals Responsible for 3% of U.S. GDP, Report Shows

U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals represented by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) generate approximately 3.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and support more than 6.3 million jobs nationwide, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by RTI International on behalf of the AAMC, examined the economic impact of AAMC member medical schools and teaching hospitals in 46 states where they are located, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Medical schools and teaching hospitals are important economic contributors to their communities and play crucial roles educating tomorrow’s doc­tors, providing cutting-edge patient care, and conducting groundbreaking research,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “This analysis shows just how vital these institutions are as economic engines at the local, state, and national levels in generating jobs, paying wages, and supporting business and community development opportunities.”

The institutions that were studied added more than $562 billion in value to the nation’s economy in 2017, including direct economic impact and substantial secondary economic effects on the communities where they operate and beyond. Secondary impacts include activities such as institutional purchases of equipment, services, or supplies and employee purchases at local businesses. The more than 6.3 million jobs supported by the institutions studied corresponds to 3.3% of the U.S. workforce and are spread out across multiple industries. Wages, salaries, and benefits earned by workers in those jobs total $386 billion, or an average of $61,295 per job.

Of the total economic impact, research activities at medical schools and teaching hospitals resulted in $25.4 billion added to local economies and 313,604 jobs that generated $16.6 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits.

“These data show that medical schools and teaching hospitals are a significant contributor to the national economy, roughly equal in scope to the transportation and warehousing sector or accommodation and food services industries. Above all, they are places that offer hope to all Americans who are seeking treatment and hoping for cures when serious injury and illness strike,” Kirch added.

In addition to national data, the full report also provides state-level data on jobs and labor income created, total economic value added by medical schools and teaching hospitals, and impacts of the medical research conducted by AAMC member institutions. 

View the full report, including national and state-specific data, at www.aamc.org/EconomicImpact.


The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 151 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.