Nursing: Supply and Demand through 2020 analyzes the growing need for qualified nurses. The study projects that the economy will create 1.6 million job openings for nurses through 2020. Yet, there will not be enough nurses to fill those openings. We project the nursing workforce will be facing a shortfall of roughly 200,000 nursing professionals by 2020.

Key Findings

Of the 1.6 million job openings for nurses, 700,000 will be newly-created opportunities, and 880,000 will result from retirements.

Twenty-three percent of nurses 55 and older plan either to leave nursing or reduce their volume of clinical work.

Between 1980 and 2008, the number of applications to nursing schools increased by over 80 percent.

Over 1 million baby boomer nursing professionals (1.1 M) will be retiring over the next two decades, increasing the need to train new nurses to replace them.



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Our report Nursing: Supply and Demand Through 2020 was released on February 25th. The report analyzes the dynamics affecting demand and supply of active nursing professionals, including changing demographics, impact of the Affordable Care Act, and educational obstacles. We project that 1.6 million job openings for nursing professionals will become available through 2020.


Full Report

One of the reasons for the growing demand is due to changing demographics; older nurses are retiring in large numbers, creating thousands of job openings. Another factor is the Affordable Care Act, which expands health insurance coverage to millions of job openings. In addition, nursing schools lack the faculty, facilities, and training sites to match the growing demand.