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Beat 38,376 Residency Match Applicants: Residency Match Statistics 2020-2021

Residency Match Statistics and Charting Outcomes in the Match 2020-2021

2019 residency match results

Since the mid-90s, the number of residency applicants and residency positions offered via ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) has steadily increased. The transition to a single NRMP (National Residency Match Program) residency match for osteopathic and allopathic medical school graduates has also contributed to these increases. In 2019, there were 44,603 registrants and 38,376 active applicants (those who submitted rank lists) who competed for 35,185 positions. The number of PGY-1 (first year residency) positions was 32,194. Historically, the PGY-1 match rate for U.S. seniors has been excellent with between 92% and 95% matching. Osteopathic medical graduates saw the highest match rate in history in 2019 with 84.6% matching to a first year position. U.S. IMGs had a match rate of 59.0% and non-U.S citizen IMGs had a match rate of 58.6 percent, both the highest in history.

Residency Match Statistics

When applying to residency it is important to have the following:

  • Competitive USMLE scores
  • Compelling residency personal statement
  • Strong letters of recommendation
  • Strong Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE/Dean’s Letter)

However, you should also know the most recent residency match statistics and read:

Top residency match data can be found at via data reports for 2002-2021 National Resident Matching Program and at the following address:

National Resident Matching Program

    • 2121 K Street NW Suite 1000
    • Washington, DC 20037
    • United States

Residency Match Statistics: NRMP Match Data Rates By Residency Specialty

Listed below are the largest specialties in medicine, the total numbers of positions available in the match and the percent of US seniors that successfully matched in to that specialty. By reviewing this data, you can see that the most competitive specialties are: Dermatology, Neurological Surgery, Otolaryngology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry.

Match Rates By Residency Specialty
Specialty Positions Match Rate
Vascular Surgery 66 100%
Pediatrics 2,937 99.1%
Medicine-Pediatrics 464 99.1%
Radiation Oncology 211 99%
Child Neurology 190 98.8%
Internal Medicine (Categorical) 8,512 98.2%
Neurology 918 97.5%
Family Medicine 4,107 97.2%
Pathology 601 96.5%
Radiology 1117 96.3%
Emergency Medicine 2,488 95.1%
Anesthesiology 1,862 94.9%
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 138 93.4%
Plastic Surgery 172 91.7%
General Surgery 1,432 90.4%
Psychiatry 1,740 89.5%
Orthopaedic Surgery 755 87.4%
Obstetrics-Gynecology 1,395 86.1%
Surgery Preliminary 1,158 86.5%
Neurological Surgery 232 85.1%
Dermatology 504 81.4%
Otolaryngology 328 80.2%

Getting into residency has never been more competitive. Let the experts at MedEdits help you with the residency match process. 95% of residency applicants who work with MedEdits match in the specialty of their choice.

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Residency Match Statistics: Couples Match Rates

In the 2019 Match, 2,152 individuals participated in the match as couples, 178 fewer than 2018, and the first decrease in numbers of couples since 2005. U.S. seniors made up 69% of the couples in the match. Couples continued to have great success in the 2019 match with a PGY-1 match rate of 95.0 percent. Be sure to contact MedEdits for a residency couples match strategy.

Residency Match Statistics: Osteopathic vs. Allopathic Match Rates

Overall match rates are higher for U.S. allopathic medical school seniors and range from 92% to 95% every year. In 2019, 84.5% of osteopathic candidates matched and this was the highest match rate in history, As all AOA programs transition to a single accreditation system in 2020, we expect this match rate will continue to increase.

Residency Match Statistics: International Medical School Graduate (U.S. and non-U.S. Citizen) Match Rates

It is certainly more difficult to match as an international medical student or graduate. The data for this group of students is broken up in to U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. In 2019, 5,080 U.S. international medical students/graduates submitted rank order lists and 2,997 matched to PGY-1 positions for a match rate of 59.0 percent. Of the 6,869 non-U.S citizen international medical students/graduates who submitted rank order lists, 4,028 matched to PGY-1 positions for a match rate of 58.6 percent. This was the highest match rate for both groups since the early 1990’s.

Residency Match Statistics: Easiest Specialties For International Students

The following specialties are the most “friendly” for International Medical Students and Graduates because they match the lowest percentage of U.S. Allopathic Seniors.

Easiest Residency Specialties For International Students
Residency SpecialtyPercent of U.S. Seniors
Surgery - Preliminary23.9%
Pathology33.4%
Family Medicine39%
Pediatrics - Primary40%
Internal Medicine (Categorical)41.5%

Residency Match Statistics: Most Difficult Specialties For International Students

In contrast, the following specialities are the most difficult for International Medical Graduates because more than 90% of matches are U.S. Allopathic Seniors.

Most Difficult Residency Specialties For International Students
Residency SpecialtyPercent of U.S. Seniors
Otolaryngology93.9%
Plastic Surgery91.9%
Thoracic Surgery91.9%
Neurological Surgery91.8%
Orthopaedic Surgery91.8%

Residency Match Statistics: SOAP Statistics

In 2019, 12,472 applicants were eligible to participate in SOAP, 704 fewer than in 2018. In total, 1,652 of the 1,768 unfilled positions were offered during SOAP. The following numbers of applicant types were eligible for the SOAP and accepted positions through SOAP in 2019.

By reviewing the data, it becomes obvious that presenting your self in a competitive fashion to a residency program director and obtaining a position through SOAP is not likely. Only 35% of the most successful group, senior U.S. allopathic students, obtained a position through SOAP.

SOAP Statistics
Applicant TypeNumber of Eligible ApplicantsPositions AcceptedAcceptance Rate
Seniors of U.S. Allopathic Medical Schools1,91666334.6%
Students/Graduates of Osteopathic Medical Schools1,17336531.1%
Previous Graduates of U.S. Allopathic Medical Schools961535.5%
U.S. Citizen Students/Graduates of International Medical Schools3,5931123.1%
Non-U.S. Citizen Students/Graduates of International Medical Schools4,8181172.4%
Students/Graduates of Canadian Medical Schools900%
Students/Graduates of Fifth Pathway Programs200%

Related Article:  Residency Timeline & Length

MedEdits, NRMP, & ERAS

MedEdits helps students, applying via the ERAS match, obtain residency. Our consultants have years of experience serving on residency admissions committees and as faculty members at the top medical schools & residencies.

Need Help With the NRMP Residency Match for the 2020-2021 cycle?

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