Trends in racial and ethnic demographics of the nursing workforce: 2000 to 2015

George Zangaro, Robin Streeter, Tiandong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The case for a more diverse nursing workforce has never been stronger given the rapidly changing demographics of the United States (U.S.) and the underrepresentation of certain racial and ethnic groups in nursing. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how representation of ethnic and racial minority groups in the nursing workforce has changed over a 15-year period (2000–2015). Methods: The American Community Survey (ACS) data files were used to examine patterns in ethnicity/race and education level in the registered nurse (RN) workforce. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square. Discussion: In the nursing workforce, minority groups are reaching higher levels of education. There has been a sharp increase in the number of baccalaureate graduates and a leveling-off of associate degree nurses. Conclusion: Nursing leaders are working collaboratively to increase the ethnic and racial diversity of the nursing workforce that is growing at a rate faster than that of the U.S. population as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNursing Outlook
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • Minority groups
  • Nursing
  • Registered nurse
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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