June 9, 2023  |  Purdue Global

Americans love their nurses — for the 21st consecutive year, nursing ranked as the nation’s most trusted profession in Gallup’s 2022 poll about honesty and ethics in professions. In this infographic, we take a close look at up-to-date information surrounding various aspects of nursing in the U.S. We examine such nursing data as:

  • Total U.S. nursing population
  • Registered nurses (RNs) by gender, age, and race/ethnicity
  • Levels of education attained
  • Thoughts on nurse leadership
  • 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 2021

Men in Nursing

The percentage of registered nurses who are male remains about steady:

  • 2020 – 12.6% male
  • 2021 – 13.3% male
  • 2022 – 12.1% male

BLS – Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey


46: The median age of RNs in 2022

National Nursing Workforce Study


21: Number of consecutive years nursing has been rated the most trusted profession


Race/Ethnicity in 2022

  • 73.6% White
  • 14.5% Black or African American
  • 8.9% Asian
  • 8.1% Hispanic or Latino

BLS – Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Educational Attainment

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

  • 2015 – 39%
  • 2020 – 42%
  • 2022 – 47%

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 6% from 2021 to 2031 - BLS
  • Employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow 46% from 2021 to 2031 - 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 100,000 nurses left the workforce 2020-2021
  • 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
  • 12% of nurses eligible for retirement 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 online nursing degrees that can help you start or advance your nursing career. Request information or apply now.

About the Author

Purdue Global

Earn a degree you're proud of and employers respect at Purdue Global, Purdue's online university for working adults. Accredited and online, Purdue Global gives you the flexibility and support you need to come back and move your career forward. Choose from 175+ programs, all backed by the power of Purdue.

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