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Data Spotlight: Trends in Hispanic/Latino Students in U.S Nursing Programs

Published October 20, 2021

According to 2020 Census data, 51.1 percent of the U.S population growth from 2010 to 2020 was due to growth in the Hispanic/Latino population. This segment of the population expanded from 50.5 million in 2010 to 62.1 million in 2020. Concurrently, AACN Annual Survey data for the past five years reveals that Hispanic/Latino enrollments in U.S nursing programs is on the rise (Table 1). Table 1 illustrates trends in Hispanic/Latino enrollment over the past 5 years: (1) baccalaureate enrollment increased by 48.9 percent; (2) master’s enrollment increased by 57.6 percent; and (3) DNP enrollment increased by 131.3 percent. Although total enrollment in research-focused doctoral programs decreased by 6.7 percent from 2016 to 2020, Hispanic/Latino enrollment in these programs remained relatively stable. 

Since 2011, Hispanic/Latino nursing students have made up an increasing percentage of the total student population in nursing programs at the baccalaureate level and higher. Figure 1 reveals that the percentage of nursing students who are Hispanic/Latino in baccalaureate and master’s programs has doubled since 2011. 

The number of Hispanic/Latino graduates also has increased for all nursing program levels except for research-focused doctoral programs. Table 2 illustrates the following trends in Hispanic/Latino graduations over the past 5 years: (1) baccalaureate graduations increased by 50.6 percent; (2) master’s graduations increased by 74.2 percent; and (3) DNP enrollment increased by 145 percent. However, the number of research-focused doctoral graduates who are Hispanic/Latino decreased from 42 in 2016 to 30 in 2020, a 28.6 percent decline. Figure 2 reveals that over the last 10 years, there has been an increased percentage of Hispanic/Latino nursing graduates across all nursing programs with the largest increase noted in baccalaureate programs. For more information on AACN’s commitment view AACN's Fact Sheet on Enhancing Diversity in Nursing Education,

*This data excludes categories for Non-U.S residents and Unknown/Not reported.
**The term ‘baccalaureate’ includes students/graduates in Generic Baccalaureate programs and RN-to-Baccalaureate programs

Table 1. Hispanic/Latino Enrollment in U.S Nursing Programs


Figure 1. Percentage of Hispanic/Latino Students  By Nursing Program (2011-2020)


Table 2. Hispanic/Latino Graduates in U.S Nursing Programs


Figure 2. Percentage of Hispanic/Lation Graduates By Nursing Program (2011-2020)