More Male Nurses, But Wage Disparity Persists

John Commins, February 28, 2013

Men represent less than 10% of the nurse workforce in the United States, a U.S. Census Bureau report shows. Their numbers are steadily increasing and they now make significantly more money on average than their female colleagues.

The report, Men in Nursing Occupations, uses data gleaned in the 2011 American Community Survey which found that 9.6% of the nation's registered nurses were men, up from 2.7% in 1970. Men also comprised 8.1% of the licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, up from 3.9% in 1970.

In 2011, there were 3.5 million employed nurses in the U. S. and 78 percent were registered nurses.

Full-time female nurses earned 91 cents for every one dollar earned by their full-time male colleagues. For both full-time and part-time nurses, the survey found that men earned an average of $60,700 per year and women earned $51,100.

While men typically out-earn women, the gap is much smaller in nursing than it is across all occupations in the national workforce, where women earned on average 77 cents for every one dollar earned by men.

The study's author, Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist with the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, says there are "a variety of factors" explaining why male nurses make more than female nurses.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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