AVMA data track increase in women, specialists, members

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Women now outnumber men among U.S. veterinarians, according to the most recent AVMA data. The data also indicate that the ranks of veterinary specialists and AVMA members continue to grow.

The Association posts statistics about the profession here, and figures are now available for 2009.

Allison Shepherd, senior manager of marketing research in the AVMA Communications Division, predicted in 2007 that female veterinarians would soon outnumber male veterinarians in the United States. The tipping point occurred last year. Female veterinarians numbered close to 45,000, while male veterinarians numbered just over 43,000.

In another trend, more veterinarians are becoming specialists. Veterinary specialty organizations listed nearly 10,000 active diplomates for 2009, although some veterinarians are diplomates in more than one field. The number increased more than 15 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Dr. Larry R. Corry, AVMA president, said the Association has been aware for some time of the increase in veterinary specialists, but the data help the Association understand and track the trend.

He continued, "The AVMA is constantly conducting research and compiling data about our profession and our members as a means of giving us a better understanding of how we can serve their needs."

As of Dec. 31, 2009, the AVMA's worldwide membership exceeded 80,000. About 79,500 members resided in the United States and its territories.

The AVMA mines an enormous amount of data for insights, Shepherd said. Among the statistics are information that members provide voluntarily regarding employment type, species contact, and other professional characteristics.

Members can update their information in the AVMA database here.