• 2021 Match® Results for Family Medicine

    The American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP's) brief analysis of family medicine results from the annual National Resident Matching Program Main Residency Match® (NRMP) provides a snapshot of a major input into the primary care workforce pipeline. For historical comparison, this analysis also includes insights into match data reported by the American Osteopathic Association regarding the AOA Intern/Resident Registration Program (AOA Match) prior to 2020. 

    For more analysis, download the AAFP's full 2021 Match Results for Family Medicine.

    Call to Action

    While the residentcy match results reflect momentum for family medicine, the pace needs to accelerate dramatically to reach a national goal of 25% of U.S. allopathic and osteopathic seniors and graduates pursuing family medicine while maintaining opportunities for internatinal medical graduates who already make a strong contribution to the workforce. The U.S. medical education system is far from delivering the primary care medical workforce needed in the country it serves, and whose taxpayers fund it. The composition of residency training positions must reflect the composition needed in the workforce, and as such, needs to increase steeply in family medicine, other primary care specialties, and a few subspecialties. Health care, education, and societal systems need to incentivize, recruit, and support a more diverse medical student population that better represents the U.S. population and that is more likely to choose primary care careers and practice in underserved areas. Substantial increases in the family medicine and primary care workforce—while also accounting for the composition, distribution, and quality—are needed to improve the health of Americans and the sustainability of the health care system.

    Family Medicine Match Highlights

    2021 NRMP Match Highlights

    • 4,493 medical students and graduates matched to family medicine residency programs.  Here's the breakdown:
      • 1,623 were U.S. allopathic medical school (MD) seniors
      • 1,443 were osteopathic medical school (DO) seniors
      • 781 were U.S. international graduates (IMGs)
      • 444 were foreign IMGs
      • 125 were previous graduates of U.S. MD-granting schools
      • 77 were previous graduates of DO-granting schools
    • Family medicine offered 4,844 positions, 159 more than 2019, and 13.8% of positions offered in all specialties.
    • Most notably in 2021, the growth of family medicine continued even after the final shift to a Single Accreditation System and consolidation to the NRMP Match in 2020 which had been responsible for a large portion of the significant growth from 2017 to 2020.
    • The number of U.S. MD seniors matching increased after two years of slight year-over-year declines. It remains significantly below–717 positions–the historical peak of 2,340 in 1997. Only 8.8% of matched U.S. MD seniors matched into family medicine.
    • The number of DO seniors matching to family medicine reached a record high; however, the percentage of DO students matching to family medicine (22.8%) has declined slightly in recent years.
    • One-quarter (24.8%) of U.S. IMGs and 10.2% of foreign IMGs who matched to any specialty matched to family medicine.
    • A total of 3,268 U.S. MD and DO seniors and graduates matched in family medicine. This represents 12.6% of all U.S. students or graduates matched in all specialties, half of the goal of at least 25% by 2030.

    Brief Historical Comparison

    Family Medicine in the NRMP Match 2001-2021

    Family Medicine Programs

    These results are a combination of all PGY-1 positions that result in eligibility for licensure and board certification in family medicine. Those include family medicine categorical and combined residency programs. Broken down:

    • 729 family medicine categorical programs offered 4,823 and filled 4,472 positions. The overall fill rate was 92.7%.
    • 7 family medicine-psychiatry programs that offered and filled 12 positions.
    • 3 emergency medicine-family medicine programs that offered and filled 7 positions.
    • 2 family medicine-preventive medicine programs offered and filled 2 positions.
    • Altogether, a total of 741 family medicine categorical and combined residency programs offered positions in the 2021 NRMP Match, 21 more programs than in 2020.

    More on the Family Medicine and Primary Care Workforce

    The NRMP Match in not the only mechanism through which medical students or graduates are matched with their required graduate medical education. The following resources provide a more in-depth look at the family medicine workforce pipeline: