California Nurses Facts and Figures


Tim Bates, Catherine Dower

Nov 2010

Close to 300,000 actively licensed registered nurses (RNs) live in California, making nursing the largest health profession in the state. California’s RN workforce has doubled in size since 1980, and RN wage growth has been very strong compared with other health care occupations. Still, the rate RNs per capita in California ranks near the bottom of all states. Educational programs that train RNs have expanded dramatically in recent years, but the capacity of schools cannot meet the demand of qualified applicants. Over the last 15 years, the number of foreign-trained nurses working in California has increased substantially. Recognizing the key role that nurses play in providing care to patients across the health care system, this report presents data describing the supply, education, and demographics of California’s RN workforce.