Lawyer population is up 6.6% in 10 years; percentage of Black lawyers remains the same, new ABA survey says

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The total number of active lawyers in the United States has increased 6.6% since 2012, according to the 2022 National Lawyer Population Survey released by the ABA on Friday.

The number of active lawyers in the nation was 1,327,010 as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the 2022 statistics. There were 1,245,205 active lawyers reported in the 2012 statistics.

The last time that there was less than 1 million lawyers in the United States was 1998, when there were 985,921 lawyers.

Thirty-eight percent of active lawyers in reporting states are women, an increase from 33% in 2012. Sixty-two percent of active lawyers in reporting states are men, a decrease from 67% in 2012.

Eighty-one percent of active lawyers are white, a decrease from 88% in 2012. Five percent of active lawyers in reporting states are Black, the same percentage as in 2012. Five percent are Asian, an increase from 2% in 2012. Six percent are Hispanic, an increase from 3% in 2012.

Some states did not report demographic data. Only 44 states reported on gender, the same number that reported the statistic in 2012. Only 26 states reported on race and ethnicity, an increase from 16 states that reported that information in 2012. Some states allow lawyers to choose more than one race and ethnicity.

The numbers are based on the best available data provided by state bar associations or licensing agencies, which are asked for the number of resident and active attorneys in their states. When states don’t provide data, statistics from a prior year are used.

In the latest survey, states that did not provide data were Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont. Some U.S. territories also did not provide new data.

The statistics are also affected when states change their reporting methods. Alabama, for example, did not begin distinguishing active lawyers from those on inactive status until 2022, making it appear as though the number of lawyers in the state decreased 19.1%.

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