A question I often hear from children who hope to become veterinarians is “How many veterinarians are there in the United States?”. I answer “about 93,000”. And then there is silence. No one knows what to do with that number.
So today, I decided to explore ways to share that number a bit differently. I wanted to make the population of U.S. veterinarians a bit more interesting and meaningful. So, I started my search.
First, for comparison, I found that there are approximately 759,000 lawyers, 788,000 doctors, and 2.8 million nurses in the United States. Wow. Veterinary medicine is a relatively small profession when you compare them to these occupations. For every veterinarian you meet there are about 8 lawyers, 8 doctors and 31 nurses.
I decided to try the city approach next. By looking at city population data, I found that the number of veterinarians in the US is about equal to population of New Bedford, Massachusetts…Compton, California …or maybe even Lawton, Oklahoma. Probably good stuff to share …if I’m ever in one of these towns.
How about something connecting veterinarians to sports? The 2010 World Cup soccer tournament was held in Soweto’s stadium and it holds 93,000 people. I wonder if those were all US veterinarians at the opening ceremony? Closer to home, the Rose Bowl stadium can seat 93,000 people. Maybe I can get all the US veterinarians together this January for a picture. That would tell the whole “How Many Vets in the US” story.
To be more contemporary, I tried comparing veterinarians to the computer or tech side. Apple sold 93,000 I-Pads on the first day the product was offered and Microsoft has 93,000 employees. Cool stuff but I don’t think that veterinarians bought all those I-Pads and I’m pretty certain that Microsoft doesn’t employ even one veterinarian.
So, I finally took it closer to home. I compared the number of vets to pets. There are approximately 72 million dogs, 81.7 million cats and 7.3 million horses in the US. That means, for every veterinarian you meet there are about 774 dogs, 878 cats and 78 horses. I guess its good that all these animals don’t show up on the same day at the clinic.
I think I’ve found some good stuff but I don’t think I’ve found that one, really cool comparison that makes the number of veterinarians unforgettable or even more interesting. So I’ll just keep searching. Let me know if you have any ideas.
Let’s see, the earth is 93,000,000 miles from the sun, that means if you laid all US veterinarians end-to-end……