A shortage of general practitioners jeopardizes the provision of primary care in many German federal states. Aim The aim of this article is to investigate socio-economic and socio-psychological factors, which may be relevant for the location choices. Method The analysis is based on a survey of medical students and general practitioners. Results Our evaluation suggests that socioeconomic factors such as hometown population and family are decisive for location choices. Only 8.2 % of the medical students plan to settle in a village. Conclusion Our findings are in line with the discussion about the growing regional inequality in access to health care and suggest focusing on socioeconomic factors when generating incentives for potential country doctors.