Nursing Statistics

Nursing Statistics

Highlights from the 2021 pan-Canadian statistics on regulated nurses from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI):

Nursing supply

In 2021, there were 459,005 regulated nurses eligible to practise. The distribution of nurses by licence type is as follows:

  • 312,382 registered nurses (RNs) — a growth of 2.5% from 2020.
  • 7,400 nurse practitioners (NPs) — a growth of 10.7% from 2020, the largest increase of all the nursing designations. In fact, NPs became one of the fastest-growing professions in health care.
  • 132,886 licensed practical nurses and registered practical nurses (LPNs and RPNs) — a growth of 1.6% from 2020.
  • 6,337 registered psychiatric nurses— a growth of 3.6% from 2020.

LPNs are the youngest group of nurses with an average age of about 41 years. RNs, NPs, and RPNs all had an average age of between 43-44 years. As a group, the nursing workforce is becoming younger, with average ages among each licence type decreasing slightly over the past year.


In 2021, about 91% of regulated nurses were female in Canada, so nursing continues to be a female-dominated profession.

CIHI collects data on sex (not gender) and thus does not have statistics regarding nurses with various gender expressions.


Percentage of regulated nurses by employment setting:

  • 54.6% worked in a hospital
  • 13.7% worked in community health
  • 13.6% worked in a nursing home/long-term care
  • 7.4% worked in other employment settings

Employment status of nurses in the workforce:

  • 60.8% of the workforce was employed full time
  • 29.6% were employed part-time
  • 9.5% were employed on a casual basis

Among all categories of regulated nurses, the percentage working in rural/remote regions has declined between 2020 to 2021.

Visit CIHI’s website for the full report, including data tables and provincial breakdowns.