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How many nurses are there? And other facts.

How many nurses are there?

Bureau of Labor Statistics data (2014) 2.7 million jobs
RN Sample Survey (2008 data) has 3.1 million RNs, with 85% being employed in nursing.
(10 nurses per 1,000 persons.)
The NCSBN is doing a survey in 2015, results will likely be here

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.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that the average annual earnings of US RNs employed full-time in 2008 was $65,130. But a 2009 Compensation Data Healthcare study found that the average RN salary was lower, at $61,300 per year.

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?

In both the US and Canada, 5-6% of nurses are men. Of nurses employed in nursing, 6% and 5.6% are male in the US and Canada respectively.

How old is the average nurse?

The average age of a nurse in the US was 47.0 in 2008. In Canada the average nurse's age was 44.7 in 2005. Canadian data (pdf).

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