If you’re thinking about moving to a new place, one of the biggest questions you probably have is, “How will this move affect my income?”  Do physicians make more money in small towns, or do you have to live in a big city to get a big paycheck?

Let’s start off by discussing competition.

Living in a small town means you’ll have less of it.  Unlike big cities, where you’ll find a physician with similar credentials practicing on virtually every street corner, small towns have a smaller pool of physicians to choose from.  That shift in supply and demand can translate into more money.

If you’re planning on opening your own practice, you won’t just have to consider the competition, though.  You’ll also have to consider the overhead.

As a general rule, small towns are less litigious than big cities, so your malpractice insurance will likely be cheaper.  And, since property values are usually lower in smaller towns, the office space that you rent or buy will likely be cheaper, too.  The same goes for the overall cost of living.  You’ll probably have cheaper utilities and you’ll probably be able to pay your office staff less in a small town – which means you can put more money into your own pocket.

Another factor to consider?  Medicaid.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that Medicaid patients are more likely to live in rural areas because of that lower cost of living.  As a result, you may see a major uptick in Medicaid patients if you move to a small town – which could make a serious dent in your wallet.  However, if you’re already used to lots of low Medicaid reimbursements in your big-city job, moving to a smaller town won’t cause a major drop-off in salary.  In fact, thanks to the lower cost of living, you might actually make more in the end!

Bottom line – you don’t necessarily need to practice in a big city to see big money.  In fact, moving to a smaller town could be seriously profitable!