Filling the Gaps: Explanations for Disparities in the Distribution of Dentists among U.S. Counties

This study identifies determinants of the geographic distribution of U.S. dentists. Significant and growing disparities exist among counties in the number of dentists per capita, which have potential ramifications for resident health and economic vitality for underserved areas. This study examines the geographic distribution of dentists using a utility maximizing model of dental location and spatial econometric methods. Results indicate that demand factors such as income, private insurance, education, and age affect dentist disparities. Also, dentists cluster in counties with urban areas of at least 10,000 residents, higher net incommuting, greater proportions of creative class professionals, and dental schools. Spatial econometric models improve fit over spatially naïve models and provide evidence of spatial dependencies. Results suggest that some county disparities are immutable and that dentist recruitment and retention efforts should be linked with community, workforce, and economic development plans in collaboration with other localities in the region.

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Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 46, 1
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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