NRMP Main Residency Match Report Shows Record-Highs in Registrants, Positions

Washington, D.C., May 6, 2020 – The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) announces the publication of the Results and Data report for the 2020 Main Residency Match®, the system utilized globally by medical school students and graduates to obtain residency positions in the United States. The report, which is the most comprehensive data and analysis resource available for the Main Residency Match, documents matches by specialty and applicant type, applicant preferred specialty, trends in specialty competitiveness, and positions per active applicant.

The 2020 Match included 44,959 registrants and 37,256 positions – both record highs. When the matching algorithm was processed 35,258 positions were filled, and of the 1,897 positions offered through the Match Week Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program® (SOAP®), 1,687 were filled. Only 210 SOAP-eligible positions remained unfilled at the conclusion of SOAP, resulting in an overall fill rate of 99 percent.

Other Highlights

  • The number of first year (PGY-1) positions rose to 34,266, an increase of 2,072 over 2019. The increase was due, in part, to the last migration of osteopathic program positions into the Main Residency Match. A record high 6,581 U.S. DO medical school seniors submitted program choices, representing an increase of 1,103 over 2019. Of those, 90.7 percent matched to PGY-1 positions, an increase of 2.6 percentage points from 2019.
  • The PGY-1 match rate for all applicants was 80.8 percent, the highest since 1993 and 1.2 percentage points higher than in 2019.
  • For U.S. MD seniors, the PGY-1 match rate was 93.9, within the historical 92-94 percent match rate. The ratio of PGY-1 positions per active U.S. MD senior was 1.77, the highest since 1976.
  • The number of registered non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates (IMGs) increased for the first time in three years. Of the 6,907 non-U.S. citizen IMGs who submitted rank order lists of programs, 4,222 matched to a PGY-1 position — a match rate of 61.1 percent, the highest since 1990.
  • The percentage of all U.S. MD seniors who matched to their first-choice programs was 46.3 percent, nearly 1 percentage point lower than 2019 and the lowest on record; however, 71.1 percent matched to one of their top three choices.
  • The number of individuals participating in the Match as couples increased by 13.7 percent over 2019, from 2,152 to 2,448. The PGY-1 match rate for couples was 95.6 percent, a slight increase over the 95.0 percent match rate in 2019.

“While we are delighted by another year of growth for the Main Residency Match, the importance of this year’s cohort transitioning to residency during the COVID-19 pandemic is not lost on the NRMP’s Board, leadership, and staff, “ said NRMP President and CEO Donna L. Lamb, DHSc, MBA, BSN. “The statistics contained within our Results and Data report represent this vital workforce of young people who have chosen a profession that aims to improve health. They enter it under trying circumstances and we are grateful.”  

View and download the 2020 Results and Data report

View the Match Day press release with infographic and Match by the Numbers

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 45,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).