U.S. Social Worker Workforce Report Card: Forecasting Nationwide Shortages

Soc Work. 2016 Jan;61(1):7-15. doi: 10.1093/sw/swv047.


Using age-based projected changes in population, the authors developed demand and supply models of the social worker workforce to project the shortage of social workers in all 50 states and assigned letter grades based on shortage ratios. According to the projections, the number of states with shortage ratios more severe than the current national ratio will increase from 11 states in 2012 to 30 states by 2030 and the nation will experience a total shortfall of over 195,000 social workers, with the most severe shortages occurring in the western and southern regions of the United States. Further efforts are recommended to investigate shortage dynamics and develop strategies to counter its causes.

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Population Dynamics
  • Social Work*
  • United States
  • Workforce