Despite the uncertainty inflicted on the American health system by the pandemic, the 2021 Main Residency Match saw a 2.7% rise in the number of first-year residency positions offered compared with the 2020 Match that took place amid the early spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) reported that the 2021 Match was largest in its history, with 38,106 total positions offered.

A record-high 5,915 programs took part in this year’s Match, 88 more than 2020. In five years, the number of Match-participating programs has risen by 845 (16.7%), spurred in part by the completion of the transition to the single graduate medical education accreditation system for allopathic and osteopathic programs.

Program fill rates rose across the board, even amid the insecurity across the health care sector and big changes during the residency application process such as virtual interviews and disrupted clinical rotations and testing.

Of the 35,194 first-year positions available, 95% were filled, a 2.9% increase over last year. There were 1,927 unfilled positions after the matching algorithm was processed, a 3.6% drop compared with 2020.

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