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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
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Nursing: Estimates of Supply and Demand

Understanding the supply, distribution, and educational pipeline of nurses is key to designing programs and policies that will ensure access to care and an effective health care system.

Growth of the U.S. nursing workforce has outpaced growth of the population over the past decade. 

  • Distribution of both RNs and LPNs across the country is uneven.
  • One-third of the nursing workforce is nearing typical retirement age.
  • Growth of new entrants has been rapid.
  • Post-licensure education has also grown.

Learn more: NCHWA's Nursing Workforce Research Activities and Findings (PDF - 397 KB) slides presented 05/14/2013

Nursing Health Workforce Projection Model

The Nursing Health Workforce Model is a web application that allows individuals to examine the future supply of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in relation to the demand for their services, and to explore alternative scenarios by modifying key parameters such as graduation rates, attrition and retirement rates of nurses that fit local conditions.

Users can upload data into the model and use the results as a planning tool for recruitment and retention of the future nursing workforce. The application will also help users better understand the future supply of and demand for nurses at the national and state levels. To access the tool, users must register and create an account.  

Nursing Supply and Demand Reports

Future of the Nursing Workforce: National- and State-level Projections, 2012-2025 (12/12/2014)

The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education (revised 10/2013)

National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners 2012 (05/09/2013)

National Sample Surveys of Registered Nurses

Public Use Files, by State and County

The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (PDF - 3 MB) 09/2010

The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 2004 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (PDF - 2 MB) 06/2006

The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (PDF - 2 MB) 03/2000

The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 1996 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses  (PDF - 6 MB) 03/1996

The Registered Nurse Population: Findings from the 1992 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (PDF - 6 MB) 03/1992

Toward a Method for Identifying Facilities and Communities with Shortages of Nurses: Summary Report (PDF - 1 MB) 02/2007

Toward a Method for Identifying Facilities and Communities with Shortages of Nurses:Technical Report (PDF - 3 MB) 02/2007

Nursing Education in Five States (PDF - 625 KB) 2005

Supply, Demand, and Use of Licensed Practical Nurses (PDF - 1 MB) 11/2004

A Comparison of Changes in the Professional Practice of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Certified Nurse Midwives: 1992 and 2000  (PDF - 11 MB)

Nursing Aides, Home Health Aides, and Related Health Care Occupations - National and Local Workforce Shortages and Associated Data Needs (PDF - 2 MB) 02/2004

Upcoming Releases

Behavioral and Mental Health Projections (Summer 2016)

Updated 03/03/2016

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