More people are going to medical school, and for the first time in history, the majority are female. According to reports from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), women make up 50.7 percent of 2017’s first year students, a minor but notable jump from 49.8 percent in 2016.
According to the data, the number of males enrolled in medical school dropped by 0.3 percent. The number of female matriculants has been steadily on the rise since 2015, and over the course of the last three years, the population has grown by 9.6 percent. The number of male students, on the other hand, has decreased by 2.3 during this same time period.
Although medical student demographics are slowing shifting, the number of applicants is on the decline. There were 2.6 percent fewer applicants this year than last year. However, overall, since 2002, the number of applicants has shot up 50 percent, and the population of students has grown by 30 percent. This massive uptick could be attributed to the 22 new medical schools that have opened in the last 11 years, among them the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Washington State University. According to the AAMC report, 8.7 percent of students study at one of these schools. This year, the total nationwide enrollment is 89,904 students.
“We are very encouraged by the growing number of women enrolling in U.S. medical schools,” Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and CEO said in a press release. “This year’s matriculating class demonstrates that medicine is an increasingly attractive career for women and that medical schools are creating an inclusive environment. While we have much more work to do to attain broader diversity among our students, faculty, and leadership, this is a notable milestone.”