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How many nurses are there? And other facts.

Please see the following resources

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2018). Total number of professionally active nurses.

World Health Organization. (2018, February). Nursing and midwifery fact sheet.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics data (2018) lists 3.0 million jobs in nursing.

The last RN Sample Survey (RNSS) was updated in (2008 ). But the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has taken over this role and issues reports every 2 years. See the workforce data page. The 2017 National Workforce Survey of Registered Nurses, the 2015 report or the 2013 detailed report. Please let us know if you see a survey more current (on anything on this page).

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) also has other workforce research on nurses.

Canada (2010 data) there are 269,000 RNs.
(7.7 nurses per 1,000 people.)

Cuba (2007 data), there are 89,000 nurses -- 25,000 with BSNs and 300 with masters degrees.
(8 nurses per 1,000 people.)

Israel (2009 data) had 43,700 nurses.
(6 nurses per 1,000 people.)

Africa (2011 data) has about
1 nurse per 1,000 people

Nearly 13% of US nurses (404,000) and 2.5% (6,300) of Canadian RNs and have earned masters or doctoral degrees. In the U.S. 28,000 hold doctoral degrees. There are 251,000 U.S. advanced practice nurses--140,000 nurse practitioners and 59,000 clinical nurse specialists (CNS). But only 1 in 6 CNSs are practicing as such due to the denursification of health care over the past decade and a half. The US has 35,000 nurse anesthetists and 18,500 nurse midwives. These four specialty groups are generally masters prepared or higher. Nurses employed in nursing make up 0.76% and 0.74% of the population in the US and Canada respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual earnings of US RNs employed full-time in 2018 was $71,730.

Do nurses outnumber physicians?

Sometimes people ask if there are more physicians than nurses. The American Medical Association reports that there are 920,000 physicians in the US. This is a ratio of 10 nurses to 3 physicians.

What percentage of nurses are men?

Are nurses more likely to go to graduate nursing or medical school?

Nurses are about 100 times more likely to attend graduate nursing school than medical school. see the data...

What do the initials and credentials mean that nurses so often use?

See a list on Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and another list on Strong Health.

What is the projected shortfall of US nurses?

n 2008, the U.S. was short 116,000 nurses. That is predicted to worsen to 500,000 by 2025. The U.S. will need to educate about 1.0 million new nurses by 2016--which is 40% the size of today's nursing workforce. (See U.S. Department of Labor "Occupational employment projections to 2016" (pdf).) The U.S. Department of Labor has predicted that the number of nurses needed in the workforce will grow by 587,000 to 3.1 million nurses by 2016--a 23% increase in the number of nurses.

See more information on the nursing shortage:

What is the nursing shortage and why does it exist?

AACN Nursing Shortage Resource

Toward a Method for Identifying Facilities and Communities with Shortages of Nurses, Summary Report

Generate statistics on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment, Training, and Earnings page

Also see Occupational Outlook Information.

The 2008-2018 projections are scheduled to be published in the November 2009 Monthly Labor Review.

What is the nursing shortage and why does it exist?


Find more facts and data about nurses

US Nurses: 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (the 2008 sample survey results are expected some time in 2009).

Canadian Nurses: Highlights from the Regulated Nursing Workforce in Canada, 2005

Please contact us to add data about nurses from other countries.

Last updated August 22, 2009


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