METHODS: Data collected from administrative and education databases, insurance billing data, and population health survey data between 1990 and 2004 were analyzed.
RESULTS: Between 1990 and 2004, the total number of chiropractic registrants in Ontario doubled, with an average annual rate of growth of about 5.4%; however, recent data suggest that the number of nonpracticing chiropractors is increasing, whereas the number of new registrants is decreasing. The rate of applications to a chiropractic institution rose sharply and peaked in 1996-1997, thereafter declining but leveling off in 2002-2003. Despite the continued growth in the number of practicing chiropractors, the utilization of chiropractic services among the Ontario population has remained relatively stable, resulting in a decline in the average net annual incomes adjusted for inflation to 2002 dollars.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results support previous reports projecting an oversupply of chiropractors and suggest that the chiropractic profession in Ontario is in long-run oversupply. Competition from other providers, changing population demographics, and the recent loss of public funding for services may present significant future challenges to current practitioners. Opportunities related to participation in multidisciplinary environments and accessing unmet population health needs may contribute to influencing the demand for chiropractic services. A concerted effort by professional and educational institutions is required.
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