Female dental school enrollment reaches all-time high: 6 things to know

Enrollment of female dental students reached an all-time high in 2021, according to new data from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute.

Six things to know:

1. Women made up 56 percent of first-year enrollment at dental schools last year.

2. First-year enrollment also increased among Black and Hispanic dental students compared to a decade ago, the ADA said June 21.  

3. First-year enrollment decreased among non-Hispanic white dental students, who made up 49.5 percent of students in fall 2021, the second consecutive year enrollment among this group was less than half.

4. In fall 2021, 7.3 percent of first-year students were Black, 10.7 percent were Hispanic and 22.5 percent were Asian.

5. The ADA's Health Policy Institute said based on its study of workforce trends, the change in gender enrollment will accelerate practice consolidation and lead to a decrease in practice ownership.

"We know from our research that, all else equal, women and nonwhite dentists are more likely to practice in larger groups, for example," said Marko Vujicic, PhD, vice president and chief economist at the Health Policy Institute. "They are also more likely to treat Medicaid patients."

6. Women made up 20 percent of the dentist workforce in 2005 and 34.5 percent in 2020. Practice ownership declined from 84.7 percent in 2005 to 73 percent in 2021.

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