By Raj Vardhman | December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

25+ Jaw-Dropping Nursing Statistics You Should Know (2020)

According to the association of health workers, as well as general nursing statistics, healthcare is a major subdivision at this present time. This particular branch of industry provides support and improves the general wellbeing of individuals through the identification of various illnesses, by employing preventive measures, and treating various diseases and injuries, as well as other related physical and mental maladies in people. What’s more, these treatments are usually delivered by professionals working in the healthcare sector including doctors, pharmacists, physiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, and nurses.

Today, we will tackle mostly with the issue of nurses and look for an answer to the question “how many nurses in the US are there?” But first, let’s define what the word “nurse” entails exactly. 

Simply put, nurses are people — both male and female — trained to provide care for the sick and have a major role in the workforce assigned to tackle healthcare issues. The fact remains, anyone can assist the physically unfit, but it takes a special type of training and professionalism to give the required assistance to the sick — hence where nurses fit in. The nursing profession has sustained and attained the highest rank in terms of honesty and ethical standards.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting stats concerning this profession.

Most Fascinating Nursing Statistics in 2020

We have compiled some of the most eye-opening statistics for a quick read:

  • 85% of nurses say patients suffer due to staffing shortages.
  • Up to 200,000 new RNs are required to fill the positions of retiring nurses. 
  • 91% of all nurses in the US are female.
  • 84% of Americans rank nurses as having the best ethics among professionals.
  • 78% of employed nurses are RNs.
  • There are roughly 29 million nurses and midwives in the world.
  • Incidents of serious workplace violence were four times more common in healthcare.

How Many Nurses in the US?

1) There are four times more registered nurses than licensed physicians in the US


The nursing profession involves a lot of work and is quite an extensive field. Nurses have to provide healthcare to a wide array of patients, which also includes preventive and primary care.

They take care of a wide range of people spanning across different ages (from children to the elderly) and it is necessary to be sufficiently trained in handling all the duties it entails.

2) The number of nurses in the US is around 2.83 million


The number of nurses working in the US has increased considerably over the years. Statistics show about 2.83 million registered nurses, including about 690,038 licensed practical nurses (LPN) currently in the US.

3) 58% of registered nurses (RN) work in surgical and general medical hospitals  

(AACN Nursing)

RNs dominate the numbers in the US workforce and they most often work in general and surgical hospitals. What’s more, the average pay of an RN is roughly $70,000 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on nursing.

4) Around 84.5% of licensed RNs are employed in the nursing profession

(AACN Nursing)

Nurses are one of the nation’s largest employable professions for decades now and the number of RNs nationwide keeps increasing. 

5) The employment rate of registered nurses is certain to grow at 15% in the future

(Nurse Journal)

According to some estimates, the hiring ratio of RNs will grow a lot faster compared to some other occupations by 2026. Meanwhile, this geometric growth is also the courtesy of the increasing rate of chronic conditions such as obesity, cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and other viral diseases.

6) Statistics about nurses show 17.1% held a master’s degree as of 2018

(AACN Nursing)

In 2018, just a small fragment of RNs acquired a master’s degree (17.1%); sadly this exceeds the present need for nurses with such qualifications to carry out clinical specialties, professional practices, and teaching roles. 

7) Up to 200,000 new RNs are required to fill the positions of retiring nurses 


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing employment projections for 2016–2026 places Registered Nursing (RN) among the top occupations, with a 15% increase in employment by 2026, and more than 200,000 new RNs expected to fill vacancies and replace retiring nurses annually. In 2030, New Jersey is expected to be short on some 11,000 nurses, which will make it the third-largest deficit in any state. 

8) About 88% of employers preferred nurses with a bachelor’s degree

(AACN Nursing)

Under the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 46% of employers’ demanded new nurses to possess a bachelor’s degree while about 88% of other employers seem to have a strong preferential treatment for RN’s with baccalaureate preparation.

Nursing Statistics and Facts 2019

9) 68% of people believe nurses are underpaid


Most people would agree with the fact that underpaid workers are less engaged; in fact, a worker can be totally inefficient when there is no pay whatsoever. Since nurses play an important role in the healthcare sector, it is vital to acknowledge exactly how their work can be challenging and demanding at times. 

Sadly, some of these nurses, if not all, are severely underpaid and it is surprising to know that there are regional lapses regarding salaries based on the costs of living in a particular area. For example, according to nursing statistics by state, in some regions of the US nurses are said to earn a lot more than nurses in other areas; yet, regional differences are not the only challenge here — there’s also the huge gender pay gap. 

10) 84% of Americans rank nurses as having the best ethics among professionals


According to a Gallup poll that rated the most ethical and honest professions, nurses topped the list with about 84% of the public stating they had ‘very high’ or ‘high’ standards. This is closely followed by pharmacists and medical doctors with 67% and 65%, respectively.

11) The latest nursing facts suggest that 80% of registered nurses should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree by the year 2020

(Baltimore Sun)

There is a need for a well-educated nurse workforce as a response to the constantly changing healthcare system. It is recommended that they reach high levels of education to be able to function and do their jobs efficiently and produce better results.

12) About 47% of registered nurses work regular overtime

(Beckers Hospitals Review)

Out of this number that regularly works overtime hours, it is reported that a large percentage of them (about 59%) work from one to six additional hours every week. 

These nursing stats are alarming as fatigue often sets in when working overtime, which can be detrimental to their health. Longer working hours also reduce the quality of work and care given to patients. 

13) Incidents of serious workplace violence were four times more common in healthcare 


Violence at the workplace is a serious issue in this profession; nurses work with patients and other co-workers who may have violent tendencies. In the years 2012 and 2014, workplace violence in the health care unit was said to have doubled according to the OHSN. 

Although some parts of the US are cracking down on people who attack hospital workers, other regions are still battling to enforce workplace safety laws. This is noteworthy, considering the number of nurses in the US involved in incidents of workplace violence on a daily basis.

14) Nurses have a reported 61,500 work-related musculoskeletal disorders

 (Spine Universe)

You would think that the profession with the highest chance of getting a back injury would be delivery or construction workers but stats show otherwise. Namely, nursing is the occupation with the highest risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, it takes second place when all types of non-fatal work-related injuries in America are concerned.

Nursing Shortage Statistics

According to the American Nurses Association, by 2022, there should be a 20.2% increase in the number of RNs in the US mirroring the number of aging “Baby Boomers.” Sadly, these numbers may well be just wishful thinking. 

The current nursing shortage, if not curbed, may be impossible to eliminate in just a few years. It does not only affect the physically challenged but also alters the natural and social lives of the few nurses providing said care. 

It is heartbreaking that thousands of potential nurses are prevented from attending nursing schools simply because they do not have the necessary funds to pursue a nursing career; this is especially true with minority nurse cases.

(Nursing World) 


15) 85% of nurses say patients suffer due to staffing shortages


(Quality Patient Care)

Some hospitals risk the health and safety of their patients as nurses have no choice but to tend to many patients all at once. This also impacts their social lives as they are required to run more shifts than usual; this alone can make a person extremely frustrated and dissatisfied with their job.


16) 70% of male nurses say that stereotypes are the biggest challenge in entering the profession


(Insight Into Diversity)

One of the main culprits for the lack of males in this profession. In fact, many males are reluctant to join the field due to common misconceptions and stereotypes regarding the nursing profession, as per male nurse statistics. However, one way of tackling this issue is the use of campaigns to reach out to high school and middle school children and spread awareness about the nursing profession.


17) Undergraduate nursing school programs rejected over 56,000 applicants



It is disheartening to see students being denied the opportunity to pursue their dream simply because there is a lack of capable hands, instructors, or resources to promote the required knowledge and expertise. 

Ironically, there is a need to replace a large number of nurses that are about to retire. By 2022, about 1 million new jobs will be created.


18) Nearly 55% of registered nurses are 50 years and above


(Simmons University)

As far as age diversity in the nursing industry is concerned, 55% of nurses in the US workforce are 50 years and above; only a handful of them will retire in the next 15 years. 


19) 1 out of 3 nurses leave their first job within two years



Stress, workload, lack of professional development are just some of the reasons why practicing nurses quit their jobs. Additionally, the aforementioned staff shortage is one of the top contributing factors as to why most nurses quit the profession.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Nursing homes are specifically designed for the old, vulnerable, and mentally impaired. However, the main purpose of these care facilities — to provide care to the elderly — has been abused in recent times. As a matter of fact, a recent report indicates that millions of elderly are abused each year — but only a fraction of these cases are taken to the appropriate authority.


20) 1 out of 6 people aged 60 and above have experienced a type of abuse in community settings in 2017



According to some recent nursing statistics and surveys, several nursing home attendants admitted to abusing and neglecting the elderly patients in their care; one can only wonder to what extent and in what form this abuse is manifested. 

In fact, this does not entail only physical abuse but also emotional, psychological, social, financial, and even sexual abuse. 


21) About 10% of nursing homes posed a risk to the elderly



Nearly 10% of these care homes violated the ethics of care, leading to serious injury, and even death (in extreme cases), of the elderly occupants of these homes.


22) Nursing home abuse statistics reveal 5.2% of elders are exploited by family members



A number of nursing home occupants are financially exploited by their family members. Still, seniors are more likely to report financial abuse in place of other forms of abuse.


23) As much as 15.3% of the elders’ reports are left neglected


(Nursing Home Abuse Justice)

Every year, there is a series of abuse occurring in nursing homes; however, the bitter truth is — the majority of these reports are neglected. 

Subsequently, the residents are subjected to pain, suffering, harm, and anxiety as they cannot defend themselves or fulfill their bare necessities in any way possible.

Nursing Demographics Facts

Since time immemorial, the female population has always dominated the nursing workforce but the number of their male counterparts has been on the increase in recent years. Nevertheless, both have something in common — they have chosen this career path and are ready for more opportunities in this line of work.

24) African-Americans make up 5.4% of registered nurses


Black registered nurses comprise 5.4% of all registered nurses. Moreover, about 3.6% of them are Hispanic, 0.3% are of Native American Indian origin, 5.8% of them are Asian or Native Hawaiian, and about 1.7% identify themselves as multiracial nurses. In total, about 16.8% of registered nurses are minority nurses.

25) 78% of employed nurses are RNs

(US Census Bureau)

Following these demographics, 78% of them are registered nurses (RN), about 19% of these employed nurses are licensed practical or vocational nurses, 3% of them are nurse practitioners, and the remaining 1% are anesthetic nurses.

26) The nurse gender ratio in Iowa is 16:1


There is no state in the US with an equal gender distribution in the nursing field. In total, there are about 4 million active nurses in the US and only 333,530 of them are male as of 2017.

27) 41% of nurses that are anesthetists identify as male


Although there are (generally) more female nurses, the niche where men are represented the most in the nursing profession is the anesthetist nurse with a 41% share. This number has the potential of growing as the frequency of men opting for a nursing career has been steadily increasing over the years.

Most Frequently Asked Questions 

1) What percentage of nurses are female?

(US Census Bureau)

Statistics that were taken from the gender ratio of nurses from the US Census Bureau found some interesting results. The ratio of male to female nurses shows that 91% of all nurses in the US are female, whereas their male counterparts only make up a small fraction (a measly 9%). Out of this, about 9.6% of these men work as RNs and 41% of them are anesthetists.

2) What is the average age of nurses?

(Daily Nurse)

The average age of nurses in the US varies depending on the category you are considering. Data shows that the average age of a licensed practical nurse is 43.6 while 44.6 is the average age of an RN. 

In addition, the percentage of licensed vocational nurses that are 30 years and younger is 18.3% and 14.8% for their registered counterparts.

3) How many nurses are there in the world?


Nurses make up the largest fraction of the healthcare industry. The WHO statistical report shows that there are approximately 29 million nurses and midwives around the globe. Out of this, a considerable number of them work in the US (a recorded3.9 million). It is also projected that by the year 2020 there would be a need for an additional one million nurses in the US.

In Conclusion

These extensive nursing statistics that we have prepared for you highlight some of the most important facts and figures concerning this profession. We hope that anyone considering entering the nursing profession found them useful and beneficial for their research. 

Overall, every profession has its own pros and cons and nursing is no exception. What’s more, statistics are a logical way of finding out more about a given profession and answering vital questions, such as “how many nurses in the US are there” as was the case with this article. 

Hopefully, this new insight will help you in your quest of becoming a member of this highly demanded profession. 

Leave a Comment