Public believes doctors have very great prestige
Doctors are seen as the most prestigious of 17 professions and occupations, followed by scientists, teachers, ministers/clergy and military offices, according to a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,010 adults surveyed by telephone.
The occupations with the least prestige are accountants, bankers, businessmen and labor union leaders.
The survey found that 61 percent of the respondents said doctors have "very great" prestige; 27 percent, "considerable" prestige; and 10 percent "some" prestige.
In 1997, 61 percent of the respondents also said doctors had "very great" prestige. The percentage dipped to 55 percent in 1982; 50 percent, in 1992; 51 percent in 1997; and rose to 61 percent in 1998.
The biggest gains in the "very great" prestige ranking have been made by teachers, up to 53 percent now from 29 percent in 1977, and military officers at 42 percent, up from 22 percent in 1982.
Lawyers dropped from 36 percent in 1977 to only 21 percent today.