Lawyers Per Capita by State (2010 Edition)

[****THIS IS AN OUTDATED POST ON LAWYERS PER CAPITA. THE PERMANENT VERSION OF THIS POST CAN BE FOUND ON THIS PAGE. PLEASE LINK TO THAT INSTEAD.****]

Many readers find their way to Law School Tuition Bubble by searching for the “number of attorneys per capita by state,” and discover research I did way back in the summer of 2010. Other searches bring people to the Avery Index, which used the 2000 Census with 2007 Martindale-Hubble attorney listings. We have better data available, but I credit the Avery Index for teaching me to calculate per capita rates in terms of a set number of residents (10,000) to make comparisons easier. In the past, one would have to shell out $45.00 to buy the Lawyer Statistical Report: The Legal Profession in 2000 from the ABA bookstore, which is no longer available except for a five-page excerpt on the ABA’s Market Research page. So, here’s the 2010 update, open source for all.

This page uses the number of attorneys “active and resident” according to the “ABA’s National Lawyer Population by State” document (NLPS) and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. This does not tell us the number of inactive or nonresident attorneys, which was around 7% in the early 2000s. To give you a comparison for the 1.2 million attorneys on the rolls, between 1970 and 2010, the ABA conferred just less than 1.5 million law degrees, and about 750,000 people were employed as lawyers in 2008. Those numbers will be updated later as they become available.

So, here’s what y’all came here for. As always, I consider D.C. and Puerto Rico states.

# STATE 2010 POPULATION # LAWYERS (2010) LAWYERS/10,000 RESIDENTS (2010)
1 District of Columbia 610,589 49,207 805.89
2 New York 19,577,730 157,778 80.59
3 Massachusetts 6,631,280 44,121 66.53
4 Connecticut 3,526,937 20,309 57.58
5 Illinois 12,944,410 60,069 46.41
6 New Jersey 8,732,811 40,286 46.13
7 Minnesota 5,290,447 22,585 42.69
8 California 37,266,600 153,155 41.10
9 Missouri 6,011,741 23,728 39.47
10 Louisiana 4,529,426 17,688 39.05
11 Rhode Island 1,056,870 4,098 38.77
12 Colorado 5,095,309 19,737 38.74
13 Maryland 5,737,274 22,149 38.61
14 Pennsylvania 12,632,780 47,453 37.56
15 Puerto Rico 3,791,913 13,282 35.03
16 Vermont 622,433 2,166 34.80
17 Washington 6,746,199 23,204 34.40
18 Alaska 708,862 2,418 34.11
19 Florida 18,678,049 62,875 33.66
20 Michigan 9,931,235 32,731 32.96
21 Ohio 11,532,111 37,335 32.37
22 Oklahoma 3,724,447 11,711 31.44
23 Hawaii 1,300,086 4,077 31.36
24 Texas 25,213,445 77,049 30.56
25 Oregon 3,855,536 11,766 30.52
26 Delaware 891,464 2,706 30.35
27 Wyoming 547,637 1,636 29.87
28 Montana 980,152 2,921 29.80
29 Alabama 4,729,656 13,655 28.87
30 Nebraska 1,811,072 5,149 28.43
31 Kentucky 4,339,435 12,334 28.42
32 Virginia 7,952,119 22,472 28.26
33 Kansas 2,841,121 8,009 28.19
34 Maine 1,312,939 3,663 27.90
35 Georgia 9,908,357 27,398 27.65
36 Wisconsin 5,668,519 15,078 26.60
37 New Mexico 2,033,875 5,269 25.91
38 West Virginia 1,825,513 4,725 25.88
39 Tennessee 6,338,112 16,365 25.82
40 New Hampshire 1,323,531 3,396 25.66
41 Nevada 2,654,751 6,523 24.57
42 Utah 2,830,753 6,778 23.94
43 Iowa 3,023,081 7,080 23.42
44 Mississippi 2,960,467 6,786 22.92
45 South Dakota 820,077 1,839 22.42
46 Indiana 6,445,295 13,850 21.49
47 North Carolina 9,458,888 20,226 21.38
48 North Dakota 653,778 1,397 21.37
49 Idaho 1,559,796 3,299 21.15
50 South Carolina 4,596,958 9,264 20.15
51 Arizona 6,676,627 13,384 20.05
52 Arkansas 2,910,236 5,789 19.89
USA AVERAGE 312,842,729 1,201,968 38.42

And for your viewing pleasure here’s a chart of this by state, excluding D.C. because its number dwarfs the scale.


In this map, Maryland is the national average. It just goes to show that lawyers are clumping in a handful of states.

Here’s the same data by Census divisions, excluding Puerto Rico:

CENSUS DIVISION 2010 POPULATION # LAWYERS (2010) LAWYERS/10,000 RESIDENTS (2010)
Middle Atlantic 40,943,321 245,517 59.97
New England 14,473,990 77,753 53.72
Pacific 52,532,034 201,143 38.29
South Atlantic 59,659,211 221,022 37.05
East North Central 46,521,570 159,063 34.19
West North Central 20,451,317 69,787 34.12
West South Central 36,377,554 112,237 30.85
Mountain 19,724,149 53,024 26.88
East South Central 18,367,670 49,140 26.75
USA 309,050,816 1,188,686 38.46

And here’s a map of this, the Pacific division is close to the national average.

The most recent NLPS does have the number of lawyers active and resident in 2011 but (a) we don’t have population data for each state yet, and (b) Puerto Rico and Illinois shamefully chose not to respond, which will mess the data up. There’s probably a correlation between active and resident status and bar authorities requiring high fees and CLE requirements, which I’m interested in investigating. The fact that Massachusetts lost 5% of its lawyers over the course of 2010 strongly suggests that many attorneys changed their status due to an inability to afford bar fees and CLEs. The ABA Market Research Department should probably start counting inactive attorneys like it did in the 2000s. We may learn much.

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