May 9, 2019  |  Purdue University Global  |  Updated April 9, 2020

Americans love their nurses—for the 18th consecutive year, nursing ranked as the nation’s most trusted profession in Gallup’s 2019 poll about honesty and ethics in professions. At the same time, the U.S. is facing a nursing shortage.

In this infographic, we take a close look at up-to-date information surrounding various aspects of nursing in the United States. We examine such nursing data as:

  • Total U.S. nursing population
  • RNs by gender, age, and race/ethnicity
  • Job satisfaction rates
  • Levels of education attained
  • Thoughts on nurse leadership
  • Numbers of nursing specialties
  • Rates of job growth and employment need
  • Retirement statistics

Nurses are the backbone of the health care industry; we admire and respect the integral role they play in America’s health care system. Let’s look at recent data that gives a snapshot of nursing in the U.S.


Nursing by the Numbers in the U.S. Infographic

Nursing by the Numbers Infographic Content

Total U.S. Nursing Population in 2018

  • 3,059,800 registered nurses - BLS
  • 89,100 nurse practitioners - BLS

Men in Nursing

The percentage of nurses who are male is increasing:

  • 2013 - 7% male
  • 2016 - 10% male
  • 2019 - 11.1% male

BLS Labor Force Statistics From the Current Population Survey

Age

The average age of RNs in 2017: 51
National Nursing Workforce Study

Race/Ethnicity

  • 75.3% White
  • 9.9% Black or African American
  • 8.3% Asian
  • 4.8% Hispanic
  • 1.3% Two or more races
  • 0.4% American Indian or Alaskan Native

Minority Nurse

Job Satisfaction

  • 81% of nurses are satisfied with nursing as a career choice
  • 70% of nurses say they would encourage others to become nurses
  • 65% of nurses say they are satisfied with their current jobs

AMN Healthcare

Respect

18: The number of consecutive years nursing has been rated the most trusted profession

Gallup

Educational Attainment

The number of RNs who qualify for their first U.S. nursing license with a BSN is increasing:

  • 2013 - 36%
  • 2015 - 39%
  • 2017 - 42%

National Nursing Workforce Study

Advanced Practice Nursing

When asked about their plans to pursue an advanced practice education:

  • 7% of all nurses are currently enrolled in an advanced practice program
  • 20% of all nurses plan to pursue education to become an advanced practitioner
  • 12% of Millennial nurses are currently enrolled in an advanced practice program
  • 39% of Millennial nurses who are not currently enrolled in an advanced practice program plan to enroll in the future

AMN Healthcare

Job Growth & Employment Need

  • Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028 - BLS
  • Employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 28% from 2018 to 2028 - BLS
  • 7 states are facing critical nursing shortages. By 2030, the projected number of open positions in these states will be:
    • California: 44,500
    • Texas: 15,900
    • New Jersey: 11,400
    • South Carolina: 10,400
    • Alaska: 5,400
    • Georgia: 2,200
    • South Dakota: 1,900

U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration

Retirement

  • 50.9% of registered nurses are 50 years old or older.
  • More than 1 million registered nurses will be eligible for retirement within the next 10-15 years.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing

  • 20% of all nurses plan to retire in the next 5 years
  • An additional 16% said they might retire in the next 5 years
  • Of all baby boomer nurses planning to retire, 39% say they will do so in one year or less

AMN Healthcare

Learn More About Earning a Nursing Degree

Purdue University Global offers a variety of nursing degrees that can help you start or advance your nursing career.* Learn more about nursing degrees at Purdue Global or request information.

Filed in: Nursing


About the Author

Purdue University Global

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Your Path to Success Begins Here


Learn more about online programs at Purdue Global and download our program guide.

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NOTES AND CONDITIONS

*Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Additional certification or licensing may be required to work in certain fields.

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