Introduction:There is a shortage in the number of urologists needed to satisfy the needs of an aging U.S. population. The urologist shortage may have a pronounced impact on aging rural communities. Our objective was to describe the demographic trends and scope of practice of rural urologists using data from the American Urological Association Census.Methods:We conducted a retrospective analysis of American Urological Association Census survey data over a 5-year period (2016-2020), including all U.S.-based practicing urologists. Metropolitan (urban) and nonmetropolitan (rural) practice classifications were based on rural-urban commuting area codes for the primary practice location zip code. We conducted descriptive statistics of demographics, practice characteristics and specific rural-focused survey items.Results:In 2020, rural urologists were older (60.9 years, 95% CI 58.5-63.3 vs 54.6 years, 95% CI 54.0-55.1) and were in practice longer (25.4 years, 95% CI 23.2-27.5 vs 21.2 years, 95% CI 20.8-21.5) than urban counterparts. Since 2016, mean age and years in practice increased for rural urologists but remained stable for urban urologists, suggesting an influx of younger urologists to urban areas. Compared with urban urologists, rural urologists had significantly less fellowship training and more frequently worked in solo practice, multispecialty groups and private hospitals.Conclusions:The urological workforce shortage will particularly impact rural communities and their access to urological care. We hope our findings will inform and empower policymakers to develop targeted interventions to expand the rural urologist workforce.
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