James McCay

May 2, 2023

Working in the medical profession is a noble endeavour and having a wide cohort of healthcare professionals is a key element to providing quality healthcare to a nation’s citizens. For one reason or another, some countries have a higher proportion of medical professionals than others.

So, which countries have the highest number of doctors? What about nurses, medical graduates and nursing graduates?

To find out, the health insurance experts at Compare the Market have crunched the numbers and ranked 41 nations across the globe based on their number of doctors, nurses, medical graduates and nursing graduates per capita.

The results are listed below.

The benefits of choosing your own doctor with private health insurance

A key benefit of private health insurance in Australia is that it allows you to choose your doctor (subject to availability) and be treated in private hospital. If you need to have an operation, having that choice of who operates on you can provide peace of mind.

Compare the Market’s Head of of Health Insurance, Lana Hambilton, explains why this is a major benefit for health insurance customers.

“If you have a medical issue and you are looking for a surgeon who is highly reviewed and regarded for their skills in that area, having private health insurance can give you a choice of surgeon that you wouldn’t have in Australia’s public health system.”

“As the public health system in Australia comes under increasing pressure, the power to choose your doctor, choose the hospital and know when you will be able to have your surgery is more important than ever.”

Ms Hambilton explains that there are additional benefits to having private hospital cover.

“Private hospital cover helps you avoid public waiting lists for surgeries, contributes toward the costs for private care, helps you recover in your own private room (if one is available), plus it offers potential tax benefits,” Hambilton continues, “private health is well worth looking into for anyone who wants to have more choice when it comes to their healthcare.”

Top three countries for medical professional numbers


Index score 8.37/10

4.45 doctors per 1,000
18.37 nurses per 1,000
12.91 medical grads per 100,000
111.86 nursing grads per 100,000

Switzerland was ranked number one when indexed across all four medical professional statistics with an index score of 8.37/10. It had the highest number of nurses per 1,000 people (tying with Norway) at 18.37 and the highest number of nursing graduates per 100,000 people at 111.86. Switzerland also had the sixth-highest number of doctors with 4.45 per 1,000.


Index score 8.33/10

5.18 doctors per 1,000
18.37 nurses per 1,000
10.91 medical grads per 100,000
75.64 nursing grads per 100,000

Ranking very closely behind Switzerland in second on our index was Norway, which scored 8.33/10. While Norway had the same number of nurses per 1,000 as Switzerland at 18.37, and more doctors than Switzerland – 5.18 per 1,000 people compared to 4.45 per 1,000 – Norway had a smaller number of medical graduates and nursing graduates per capita, which kept Norway from possibly ranking as number one.


Index score 8.13/10

5.45 doctors per 1,000
10.48 nurses per 1,000
14.44 medical grads per 100,000
43.78 nursing grads per 100,000

Austria was ranked third and scored 8.13/10. Austria had the highest number of doctors per 1,000 people at 5.45. However, Austria did not score as well as other countries across the other metrics that informed our ranking, which is why Austria was ranked third.

How does Australia compare?

Australia ranked fairly highly at 7.88 out of10, the fourth-highest score on our index. Australia had the sixth-highest number of nurses per capita at 12.26 per 1,000 and the second-highest number of nursing graduates per 100,000 people. As for doctors, Australia had the 13th-highest number at 3.90 per 1,000.

The table below shows the scores and data points for all 41 countries that make up our health professionals index.

RankingCountryDoctors per 1,000Nurses per 1,000Medical graduates per 100,000Nursing graduates per 100,000Indexed score
11Czech Republic4.108.6616.5529.006.62
15Slovak Republic3.675.7919.3118.285.48
16New Zealand3.5310.9110.3740.905.44
25United States2.6411.988.5465.173.98
26United Kingdom3.188.6813.1241.943.74
30South Korea2.518.377.22104.413.21
37South Africa0.791.0313.5646.231.83


We analysed data for four different metrics using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data across 41 nations. Each nation was given a score out of 10 for each factor, with the highest number of medical professionals being scoring 10 and the lowest score receiving zero. A weighted average score was taken from all four factors, weighting 50% on doctors per 1,000 and the remaining 50% for the remaining three factors.

The data was taken from the following sources: