Press Release: Thousands of Resident Physician Applicants Celebrate NRMP Match Results

2019 Main Residency Match is largest on record with 44,600 registered applicants and more than 35,000 positions offered

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019 –Today the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) celebrates Match Day with the thousands of applicants and programs participating in the 2019 Main Residency Match®. Medical school students and graduates from the United States and around the world have learned in which U.S. residency programs they will train for the next three to seven years. Match Day is commemorated with ceremonies held around the country for U.S. allopathic medical school seniors who open their Match letters in the company of family, friends, and advisors. Today the NRMP also releases the Advance Data Tables (select tables from the full Match report published in early May), “Match by the Numbers, and Match Day infographic.

“NRMP is delighted to celebrate this transition to residency with thousands of young physicians and to congratulate them on their years of hard work,” says Mona M. Signer, NRMP President and CEO. “We wish them success as they begin their careers providing health care to communities across the nation.”

NRMP, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) will join the Match Day celebration on social media with the #Match2019 hashtag.

Largest Match on Record

The 2019 Main Residency Match is the largest in NRMP history. A record-high 38,376 applicants submitted program choices for 35,185 positions, the most ever offered in the Match. The number of available first-year (PGY-1) positions rose to 32,194, an increase of 1,962 (6.5%) over 2018. The influx of positions is due, in part, to the increased numbers of osteopathic programs that joined the Main Residency Match as a result of the ongoing transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education programs.

Program Highlights

Specialty Competitiveness

The results of the Match are closely watched because they can be predictors of future physician workforce supply. There also is significant interest in the competitiveness of specialties, as measured by the percentage of positions filled overall and the percentage filled by senior students in U.S. allopathic medical schools.

  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled all available positions were Integrated Interventional Radiology (categorical and advanced), Otolaryngology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (categorical), Integrated Plastic Surgery, Surgery (Categorical), and Thoracic Surgery.
  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled more than 90 percent with U.S. allopathic seniors were Integrated Plastic Surgery (91.9%), Neurological Surgery (91.8%), Orthopedic Surgery (91.8%), Otolaryngology (93.9%), and Thoracic Surgery (91.9%).
  • Specialties with more than 30 positions that filled less than 45 percent with U.S. allopathic seniors were Family Medicine (39.0%), Internal Medicine (categorical) (41.5%), Pathology (33.4%), Pediatrics – Primary (40.0%), and Surgery – Preliminary (23.9),

Primary Care

Of the 32,194 first-year positions offered in the Match, 15,946 were in the primary care specialties of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine – Pediatrics, Internal Medicine – Primary, Pediatrics, and Pediatrics – Primary. a 7.8 percent increase over the number offered in 2018. Of those, 15,355 (96.3%) were filled and 7,272 (45.6%) were filled by U.S. allopathic seniors.

  • Internal Medicine programs offered 8,116 categorical positions, 574 more than in 2018; 7,892 (97.2%) positions filled, and 3,366 (41.5%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. The percentage of Internal Medicine categorical positions filled by U.S. allopathic seniors has declined every year since 2015.
  • Family Medicine programs offered 4,107 positions, 478 more than in 2018; 3,827 (93.2%) positions filled, and 1,601 (39.0%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. This year was the first year since 2009 that the number of U.S. allopathic seniors matching to Family Medicine has decreased; however, a record number 986 osteopathic students and graduates matched in Family Medicine, accounting for 25.8 percent of all applicants who matched to the specialty.
  • Pediatrics programs offered 2,847 categorial positions, 79 more than in 2018; 2,778 (97.6%) filled, and 1,715 (60.2%) filled with U.S. allopathic seniors. The percentage of U.S. allopathic seniors matching to Pediatrics has declined every year since 2015.

Other Specialty Trends

  • Emergency Medicine programs offered 2,488 first-year positions, 210 more than in 2018, and filled all but 30. The overall fill rate was 98.8 percent, and 65.0 percent were filled by U.S. allopathic seniors. Since 2015, the number of Emergency Medicine positions has increased by 667, or 36.6 percent.
  • Psychiatry programs offered 1,740 positions, 184 more than in 2018, and filled all but 20.  The overall fill rate was 98.9 percent, and 60.6 percent were filled by U.S. allopathic seniors.  Since 2015, the number of Psychiatry positions has increased by 387, or 28.6 percent.
  • Radiation-Oncology advanced programs offered 192 positions, 15 more than in 2018, but filled only 163 (84.9%), a sharp drop from prior years when only a handful of positions were unfilled. The number of positions filled by U.S. allopathic seniors declined by 15 percentage points.
  • Other specialties with at least 30 PGY-1 positions and increasing by more than 50 first-year positions over 2018 were Anesthesiology (84 more positions, a 6.7 percent increase), Obstetrics-Gynecology (59 more positions, a 4.4 percent increase), and Neurology (65 more positions, a 11.8 percent increase) The number of General Surgery (categorical) positions has increased by 208 since 2015 (17.0%), 113 of those added this year.  In addition, Transitional Year (PGY-1 only) positions increased for the third year in a row; 1,252 were offered in 2019, an increase of 166 positions over 2018 and a 49.4 percent increase since 2016.

Applicant Highlights

The number of Match registrants was the highest ever at 44,603. The increase was due primarily to students/graduates of U.S. osteopathic medical schools, whose numbers grew by 1,036 (17.1%) over 2018 to 7,090 this year.

  • The number of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors who submitted program choices was a record high 18,925, an increase of 107 over 2018; 17,763 (93.9%) matched to first-year positions, the highest number ever. The 94 percent PGY-1 match rate for U.S. allopathic seniors has been consistent for many years.
  • The number of U.S. osteopathic medical school students and graduates who submitted program choices also was a record high at 6,001, an increase of 1,384 over 2018.  Of those 6,001, 5,076 (84.6%) matched to PGY-1 positions, also an all-time high. Since 2015, the number of U.S. osteopathic medical school students and graduates seeking positions has risen by 3,052, a 103 percent increase. That growth has been driven in part by the transition to a single accreditation system. As part of that transition, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Match has ended.
  • The number of U.S. citizen international medical school students and graduates (IMGs) who submitted program choices was 5,080, an increase of five over 2018; 59 percent (2,997) matched to PGY-1 positions, the highest match rate since 1991.
  • The number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who participated in the Match declined for the third consecutive year. In 2019, 6,869 IMGs submitted program choices, down 198 from 2018, 415 from 2017, and 501 from 2016. However, 4,028 IMGs (58.6%) matched to first-year positions, which is 2.5 percentage points higher than 2018 and the highest match rate since 1990.

Unmatched Applicants

Applicants who did not match to a residency position participated in the NRMP Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®) to attempt to obtain an unfilled position. This year,1,652 of the 1,768 unfilled positions were offered during SOAP. SOAP results will be available in the full Match report published in early May.

View the Advance Data Tables, Match by the Numbers, and Match infographic

The Match Process

For applicants, the Main Residency Match process begins in the fall during the final year of medical school, when they apply to the residency programs of their choice. Throughout the fall and early winter, applicants interview with programs. From mid-January to late February, applicants and program directors rank each other in order of preference and submit the preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs. Research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012.

About NRMP

The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) is a private, non-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors. In addition to the annual Main Residency Match® for almost 44,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).