Lifestyle & Income in Family Medicine

Family physicians routinely report a high level of professional satisfaction, a positive balance between career and home, and a comfortable lifestyle. While specific practice arrangements impact work hours, schedule, and family time, family medicine includes a variety of flexible practice models offering a wide range of lifestyle and income options.

Work-Life Balance

How Family Physicians Spend Their Time

A recent AAFP practice profile surveys revealed that family physicians:

  • Spend 68% of their time in direct patient care
  • Work an average 47 weeks per year in patient-related or professional activities
  • See an average of 89 patients per week in office-based visits (10 in other settings)
  • Have an average of five weeks for vacation or CME-related activities per year

One of the unique aspects that the specialty of family medicine offers is a higher degree of flexibility than many other medical specialties.

Because family physicians are needed everywhere, they have the option to choose to work in urban or rural settings, to pick their practice environment and scope of practice, and to pursue different career paths, such as public health, teaching, or research. These options enable a manageable and rewarding balance with family life and personal interests.

Explore the variety of career options available in family medicine »


Incomes for family physicians compare favorably to those of other primary care specialties as well as other professional careers that require advanced education and training. Career satisfaction surveys also indicate that family physicians are generally pleased with their incomes.

While income typically varies by region, years in practice and type of practice, the family physician average income of $190,000 per year allows physicians to effectively pay off student loans in a reasonable amount of time while comfortably supporting their families.

Surveys conducted by the AAFP show that family physicians less than seven years out of residency earn an average of $165,000 per year. In some areas, especially rural settings, those who practice maternity care can expect to earn an average of $5,000-10,000 more per year in net income.

Income is also impacted by whether a physican works in a solo, two-person, or multispecialty practice. Depending upon the region of the country in which one chooses to practice, certain office visits and procedures are also rewarded more highly.

Review Table 4 of the practice profile survey for more information about income »

Dr. Joane Baumer and patient

Dr. Flora Sadri-Azarbeyejani

"Why I love being a family physician."

Read in-depth interviews with family physicians as they share about their career choice, a typical day in practice, and more.