National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses

In 2018, we sent out a survey to registered nurses in the United States.

Why did we create the survey?

The data helps us understand current health care challenges. And it helps us predict what nurses will need in the future.

Can I review the survey?

Yes. Check it out: 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (PDF - 906 KB).* 

How many nurses took the survey?

Over 50,000 registered nurses completed it.

What were your findings?

2018 Key Findings

General

  • There are an estimated 3,957,661 licensed registered nurses. In 2017, roughly 83% (3,272,872 RNs) held a nursing-related job.

Average Age

  • Registered Nurses (RNs) were 50 years old on average. Most nurses (53%) were younger than 50.

Demographics of RNs who participated in the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses •	47.9 years old was the average age of participants o	47.5% (nearly half) of all RNs are 50 years old or older o	8.5% are 30 years old or younger o	10.7% are 30 to 34 years old o	11.5% are 35 to 39 years old o	10.3% are 40 to 44 years old o	11.5% are 45 to 49 years old o	9.7% are 50 to 54 years old o	12.0% are 55 to 59 years old o	11.9% are 60 to 64 years old o	8.5% are 65 to 69 years old o	3.4% are 70 to 74 years old o	2.0% are 75 years old and older

Diversity

  • Nurses are more diverse today than in the 2008 NSSRN study. Minority groups and men have seen a slight increase within the RN population.

Education

  • Most of the RN workforce has received a bachelor's degree or higher (63.9%). Of them, nurses with a master’s or doctorate degree accounted for 19.3%.
  • Advanced Practice RNs were approximately 11.5% of the nursing workforce.

Telehealth

  • 32.9% reported that their workplace can provide telehealth. Among them, 50.3% used telehealth in their practice.

Earnings

  • Median earnings for full-time RNs was $73,929. Part-time RNs earned a median amount of $39,985.

How is the 2018 survey different than the 2008 survey?

In 2018, participants could take the survey online or by mail.

And we included questions from the National Sample Survey of Nurse Practitioners (NSSNP). The combined results give us a wider look at the national nursing workforce.

Can I contact you with questions about the survey?

Yes, you can email us.

Where can I review more nursing data?

Visit the Data Warehouse for Nursing Workforce Survey Data. Find data on registered nurses from 1977 - 2018 and nurse practiotioners from our 2012 survey.

*If you use assistive technology, you may not be able to fully access information in this file. For help, call 1-800-221-9393 (TTY: 877-897-9910), 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET weekdays (except federal holidays).

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2020