Census Bureau: Women hold 76% of all health care jobs

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Shawn Fury/VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System via AP

Women have driven 80% of the overall growth in the booming health care field since the turn of the century.

The number of full-time, year-round workers in health care occupations has almost doubled since 2000, increasing from five million to nine million workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

This rapid increase is expected to continue, as many health care occupations are projected to grow even faster than average.

Women account for three-quarters of full-time, year-round health care workers today.

About half of full-time, year-round health care workers have at least a college degree, and almost a quarter have an advanced degree.

Women have increased their participation in record numbers in health care occupations that require higher education, including dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians and surgeons, and veterinarians.

These occupations were dominated by men in 2000. Women now make up the majority of veterinarians and pharmacists, and have made strong gains, doubling their representation, in other occupations such as dentists and optometrists.

There are about 763,000 physicians and surgeons working full-time, year-round and about a third are women.

In some health care occupations, such as nurse midwives, speech pathologists, dental assistants and medical assistants, women account for at least 90% of workers.

Since 2000, median earnings for women in health care have increased, in part from their growing numbers in higher earning occupations and longevity on the job.

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