May 9, 2019  |  Purdue Global  |  Updated April 19, 2022

Americans love their nurses—for the 20th consecutive year, nursing ranked as the nation’s most trusted profession in Gallup’s 2021 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, and 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. Content from infographic is below image.

Nursing by the Numbers Infographic Content

Total U.S. Nursing Population in 2020

  • 3,080,100 registered nurses - BLS
  • 220,300 nurse practitioners - BLS

Men in Nursing

The percentage of registered nurses who are male is increasing:

  • 2019 - 11.1% male
  • 2020 - 12.6% male
  • 2021 - 13.3% male

BLS Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey


The average age of RNs in 2020: 52

National Nursing Workforce Study


  • 74.9% White
  • 13.3% Black or African American
  • 8.8% Hispanic or Latino
  • 8.6% Asian

BLS Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Job Satisfaction

  • 81% of nurses are satisfied with nursing as a career choice
  • 64% of nurses say they would encourage others to become nurses
  • 67% of nurses say they are satisfied with their current jobs

AMN Healthcare


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


Educational Attainment

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

  • 2015 – 39.0%
  • 2017 – 41.7%
  • 2020 – 42.0%

National Nursing Workforce Study

Advanced Practice Nursing

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

  • 8% of all nurses are currently enrolled in an advanced practice program
  • 30% of all nurses plan to pursue education to become an advanced practitioner
  • 57% of nurses currently enrolled in a nurse education program are pursuing a master’s degree or doctoral degree
  • 24% of current nurses are planning to pursue further education in the next 3 years

AMN Healthcare

Job Growth & Employment Need

  • Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030 - BLS
  • Employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 52% from 2020 to 2030 - 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


  • Nearly 80,000 nurses left the workforce in 2020
  • More than 1 million registered nurses will be eligible for retirement within the next 10 years

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing

  • 15% of all nurses are currently eligible for retirement
  • Of nurses eligible for retirement, 12% plan to retire in less than one year
  • An additional 41% of nurses eligible for retirement plan to retire in 1-3 years

AMN Healthcare

Learn More About Earning a Nursing Degree

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

Filed in: Nursing

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

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