IMPORTANCE: Securing an otolaryngology residency position has become an increasingly competitive endeavor in recent years. Recent studies have investigated the applicant criteria used by residency programs as part of the ranking process. However, to our knowledge, no studies have comprehensively investigated the role of geographic location in the match process. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate geographic trends in the otolaryngology national residency match process. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We conducted a cross-sectional examination of 56 otolaryngology residency programs including 810 residents to determine resident demographic information, including matriculated medical schools. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The geographic locations of residency programs and the residents' matriculated medical schools were evaluated for trends. Residents' program locations were compared with the locations of their medical schools of matriculation, and the numbers of residents attending a program affiliated with their medical schools were also identified. RESULTS: Overall, 810 residents were identified from the 56 programs included in our study. Of these, 169 residents (20.9%) attended the program affiliated with their medical school. The Midwest had the highest proportion of residents graduating from the affiliated medical school (25.7%), and the West had the lowest proportion (12.5%) (P = .008). A total of 473 residents attended a program within the same region as their medical school (58.4%). The South had the highest proportion of residents from the same region (68.2%), and the West had the lowest proportion (31.3%) (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: While it is not clear why a geographic bias was identified, a significant proportion of residents in our study attended a program in the same region as their medical school. This geographic association was strongest in the Midwest and South. Furthermore, a significant proportion of residents attended the program affiliated with their medical schools. This information is valuable to all future applicants as they choose where to apply, and to all residency programs as they decide how geographic location factors in to whom they decide to interview.
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