Nursing Shortage: The Facts and Causes

Group of Medical Professionals

Take a deeper look at the highs and lows of the nursing industry in the United States. What are the numbers and why is there a nursing shortage? Check out our infographic to get a better visual of the numbers.

Nursing Shortage Highs and Lows

Where are nurses working?

  • Outpatient- 15.31%
  • Nursing Facility- 9.6%
  • Home Health Care- 13.23%
  • Physician Offices- 7.81%
  • General Medical Hospitals- 30.59%
  • Other- 23.46%

One main reason for the shortage of nurses is the baby boomers average age increasing. With this group aging and needing more medical attention, more nurses will be needed each year. Baby boomers are born between 1946-1949.

By 2030, it is estimated that one out of every five Americans will be a senior citizen.

The percent of U.S. citizens over the age of 95 has been steadily increasing from 1990 to today, with numbers expected to continue to increase. In 1990, a little over 11 percent were over 65. In 2000 that number went up to 12.4, went up to 13 in 2010, 15.2 in 2016, and is expected to jump to 20 percent in 2030.

With this large group of individuals getting older and needing more care, another main reason for the shortage is that a large group of nurses will be retiring soon because they’re aging as well.
In addition, educators who teach nurses are starting to retire, making it a cycle contributing to the shortage.
From 2000 to 2008 the percent of nurses over 50 increased by 22 percent.

States Projected to Have a Nursing Shortage by 2020

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland

The number of new jobs projected by occupation from 2014-2024 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded that two of the top ten occupations with the most job opening projected are related to the nursing industry. Some of the increases include:

    1. Personal Care Aides: 48.8 percent increase
    2. Registered Nurses: 19.4 percent increase
    3. Home Health Aides: 48.5 percent increase
    4. Nursing Assistants: 21.1 percent increase
    5. Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses: 24.8 percent increase
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