Registered Nurse Wage Disparities in Long-Term Care

Nursing is the largest health profession in the United States. The nurse workforce includes over 3.8 million registered nurses (RNs), 81% of whom are employed in nursing, as well as more than 234,000 Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for RNs will grow 14.8% between 2016 and 2026, with 7% growth in nursing homes and residential care facilities and 48.6% growth in home health services.

This study will use the 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses to study RN and NP employment in long-term care, including nursing homes, residential care, home health, hospice, and related settings. Three specific areas of focus will be supply in rural areas, employment of internationally educated nurses, and turnover of RNs and NPs working in LTC. Results will support efforts to meet nursing workforce needs, particularly to meet the care needs of the growing older population of the US.


Key Questions

  • What is the composition of the nursing workforce employed in long-term care (LTC) settings?
  • What are the comparisons and contrasts of the nursing workforce employed in different LTC settings and in LTC vs. non-LTC settings?



Wagner, LM, Bates, T, Spetz, J. The Association of Race, Ethnicity, and Wages Among Registered Nurses in Long-term Care. Medical Care, 2021, 59, S479-S485.

For questions, contact: Joanne Spetz, [email protected]