The U.S. Census Bureau study showed the proportion of male registered nurses more than tripled since 1970, from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent, and the proportion of male licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses has more than doubled from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent.
The study, Men in Nursing Occupations, used data from the 2011 American Community Survey. The study found 64 percent of registered nurses worked in hospitals, while 30 percent of licensed practical nurses and 30 percent of licensed vocational nurses worked in nursing care facilities or hospitals.
"The aging of our population has fueled an increasing demand for long-term care and end-of-life services," report author Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist at the Census Bureau.
Men typically out-earned women in nursing fields but not by as much as they do across all occupations. For example, women working as nurses full time, year-round earned 91 cents for every dollar male nurses earned; in contrast, women earned 77 cents to the dollar men earned across all occupations, the Census Bureau said.
Because the demand for skilled nursing care is so high, nurses have very low unemployment rates, the study said.
Of the employed nurses of both sexes, 78 percent were registered nurses, 19 percent were licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, 3 percent were nurse practitioners and 1 percent were nurse anesthetists.