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Male Nursing Statistics

February 9, 2016

According to the United States Census Bureau, healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, but unfortunately, men still make up only a small percentage of nurses working in the United States. Nonetheless, the popularity of this career path among men is steadily increasing. Below are some male nursing statistics derived from the most recent trends. 

Basic Nursing Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that:

  • Approximately 3.5 million people were employed as nurses in the U.S. in 2011. 

  • 78 percent of employed nurses are registered nurses, 19 percent are licensed vocational nurses or licensed practical nurses and the rest were nurse anesthetists or nurse practitioners. 

  • The high demand for nurses has led to incredibly low unemployment rates of 4.3 percent or less among nurses. 

Men in Nursing

Historically, the majority of the nursing workforce has always been female. However, the number of men choosing nursing as a career has been increasing in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • While 3.2 million (91 percent) nurses are female, only 330,000 (9 percent) are male. 

  • Men are best represented among nurse anesthetists. In 2011, 41 percent of nurse anesthetists are male. 

  • The percentage of men working as registered nurses has increased in the past 40 years. In 1970, only 2.7 percent of registered nurses were men. In 2011, this number increased to 9.6 percent. 

  • The percentage of men working as licensed vocational nurses or licensed practical nurses has also increased since 1970. In 1970, the percentage of men in these fields was only 3.9 percent. In 2011, participation grew to 8.1 percent. 


In general, men working as nurses earn more than women. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that:

  • The average wage among all female nurses was $51,100 in 2011, while the average wage among all male nurses was $60,700 in 2011. 

  • Among full-time nurses, women earned 91 cents for every dollar earned by men in this field. 

Men and Travel Nursing

Travel nursing is an exciting career for nurses of both genders. Men in nursing often choose travel nursing because of its flexibility and higher pay. Travel nursing also appeals to male nurses because it allows them to travel to a variety of locations all around the country while still earning a high wage. In fact, according to research conducted by the Bernard Hodes Group, many male nurses cited the possibility for travel as one of the reasons they chose to become a nurse in the first place. Male nurses also mentioned travel when asked to name the benefits they would use to recommend nursing careers to their friends.

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