The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers in Illinois


February 16, 2023


March 24, 2022

New research from the American Immigration Council highlights the crucial role immigrants in Illinois are playing to help address critical workforce shortages in the healthcare field. To meet the growing need for physicians and nurses, especially in rural counties, the state will need to implement policies that not only attract and retain immigrant talent that is complementary to the U.S.-born workforce, but that also build career pathways for the immigrants who already call the state home. This research brief highlights the growing demand for healthcare workers in the state and the need to reduce barriers for internationally trained professionals.

Key findings from the brief include:

        • There is growing demand for healthcare workers, especially outside of urban areas. Between 2017 and 2021, online job postings in large metro counties increased by 59.4 percent, while job postings for rural counties increased by 105.1 percent.
        • Immigrants and refugees are helping Illinois meet its growing demand for healthcare workers. In 2019, immigrants and refugees made up 13.9 percent of the state’s population, but accounted for 38.5 percent of surgeons, 36.7 percent of physicians, and 19 percent of registered nurses in the state.
        • Immigrants and refugees are helping meet growing demand for oral healthcare workers across the state. From 2017 to 2021, online job postings for orthodontists increased by 10x and position announcements for dentists more than tripled in Illinois. In 2019, immigrants and refugees made up 20 percent of the state’s dentists and orthodontists.

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