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Number of registered nurses in the U.S. 2001-2016

There are currently around 2.86 million registered nurses in the United States. Nurses provide a wide range of care and support depending on qualifications and licenses. Such tasks include, but are not limited to, taking vital signs, dispensing medication, bathing patients, changing bandages and dressings, preparing patients for surgery and maintaining patient medical records. Nurses can work in a variety of medical settings, which include physician’s offices, home health services, nursing care facilities, and hospitals.

Nursing growth

Registered nurses play a significant role in the functioning of many medical settings and there is an increasing demand for these trained professionals. Registered nursing is expected to be one of the largest growing occupations in the United States from 2016 to 2026, adding some 437,000 new jobs. Similarly, home health aid, personal care aid, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner are all among the fastest growing occupations in the U.S.

Nurses employed in nursing homes

Registered nurses play a vital role in nursing homes, although nursing assistants account for a larger portion of employees in this setting. As of 2017, there were around 155,450 registered nurses working in nursing homes across the United States. From 2016 to 2026, it is predicted that there will be an additional 1,100 jobs for registered nurses in nursing homes.

Number of registered nurses in the U.S. from 2001 to 2016

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Release date

September 2018


United States

Survey time period

2001 to 2016

Supplementary notes

Estimates do not include self-employed, owners and partners in unincorporated firms, household workers, or unpaid family workers and were rounded to the nearest 10.
Values not included in the pdf version of "Health, United States, 2017" were taken from previous reports.
Starting with 2012 data, the registered nurses occupation category was split into four occupations as part of the 2010 SOC revision: Registered nurses (29-1141), plus three advanced practice nursing occupations: Nurse anesthetists (29-1151), Nurse midwives (29-1161), and Nurse practitioners (29-1171). Thus, data prior to 2012 include registered nurses as well as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners and are not comparable with 2012–2015 data.

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Statistics on "Nursing homes in the U.S."

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