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Chiropractic: A Rapidly Growing Profession

From Columbia South Carolina, comes a March 21, 2004 report on the website of television news station WIS that highlights the increased usage of chiropractic care. The story also noted that more than 30 million people visited doctors of chiropractic last year for a variety of conditions, and more and more medical doctors are referring their patients to doctors of chiropractic.

There were several interesting facts noted in the story.

In 1970, there were an estimated 13,000 doctors of chiropractic licensed in the United States. This number had increased to 40,000 in 1990 and to approximately 50,000 in 1994. Thus, there is roughly one doctor of chiropractic for every 5,000 United States residents.

A recent study estimated that the number of doctors of chiropractic will double by the year 2010 (to over 100,000), far exceeding the 16 percent increase projected for medical doctors. Thus, it appears that doctors of chiropractic will represent a substantially larger proportion of health care professionals in the coming years.

The proportion of the United States population that uses chiropractic and the number of chiropractic visits per capita have approximately doubled in the past 15-20 years.

According to a study published in the November 11, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 11 percent of the population visited a doctor of chiropractic in 1997. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, today there are approximately 273 million people in the country. This translates into approximately 30 million patients who visited a doctor of chiropractic in 1997.

Chiropractic is the third largest doctoral-level health care profession after medicine and dentistry.