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Nursing shortage by the numbers

Updated:
Hospitals, clinics and nursing homes are struggling with a nationwide nursing shortage that experts expect will worsen over the next 20 years as the baby boom generation ages. Yet nursing colleges turn away thousands of qualified applicants each year because they lack the resources and faculty to teach them. Some statistics about the nursing shortage:

National nursing shortage, 2000: 110,707 people, or 6 percent of the nurses needed

Projected national nursing shortage, 2020: 808,416 people, or 29 percent of the nurses needed

Number of nursing school graduates taking the national license exam for entry-level registered nurses:

1995: 96,438

1996: 94,178

1997: 89,464

1998: 83,165

1999: 76,523

2000: 71,392

2001: 68,759

Average age of working registered nurses: 43

Average age of nursing faculty: 51

Projected nursing shortage by state, 2020 (Projections assume work, migration and education patterns will remain constant):

Alabama: 19 percent

Alaska: 58 percent

Arizona: 39 percent

Arkansas: 34 percent

California: 46 percent

Colorado: 31 percent

Connecticut: 55 percent

Delaware: 52 percent

District of Columbia: 34 percent

Florida: 33 percent

Georgia: 40 percent

Hawaii: 3 percent or less

Idaho: 59 percent

Illinois: 20 percent

Indiana: 32 percent

Iowa: 3 percent or less

Kansas: 3 percent or less

Kentucky: 3 percent or less

Louisiana: 17 percent

Maine: 31 percent

Maryland: 36 percent

Massachusetts: 29 percent

Michigan: 22 percent

Minnesota: 15 percent

Mississippi: 5 percent

Missouri: 25 percent

Montana: 25 percent

Nebraska: 30 percent

Nevada: 28 percent

New Hampshire: 27 percent

New Jersey: 43 percent

New Mexico: 57 percent

New York: 24 percent

North Carolina: 19 percent

North Dakota: 24 percent

Ohio: less than 3 percent

Oklahoma: 28 percent

Oregon: 46 percent

Pennsylvania: 30 percent

Rhode Island: 48 percent

South Carolina: 18 percent

South Dakota: 23 percent

Tennessee: 49 percent

Texas: 26 percent

Utah: 36 percent

Vermont: less than 3 percent

Virginia: 36 percent

Washington: 43 percent

West Virginia: 12 percent

Wisconsin: 13 percent

Wyoming: 63 percent

Less than 3 percent means no definitive shortage.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ``Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortages of Registered Nurses: 2000-2020''; the National Council of State Boards of Nursing; the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

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