Number of Architects Continues to Climb in the United States

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Number of Architects Continues to Climb in the United States

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has released its annual Survey of Architectural Registration Boards, which provides exclusive insight into data collected from the architectural licensing boards throughout the United States.

Based on the new data, the number of architects licensed in the United States rose to 116,242 in 2019, representing a 1% increase from 2018 and a 10 percentage point increase compared to the number of U.S. architects seen a decade ago.

The increase in the number of architects in 2019 is especially apparent when compared to the U.S. population: while the number of architects licensed in the U.S. has risen over 10% in the last decade, the total U.S. population has risen just 6%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

While this data may shift in the coming years as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts architectural practice and licensure, data from the survey highlights the relative health of the profession prior to the virus’ outbreak.

“There is reassurance in knowing the profession was in excellent health going into this challenging time, and we hope it emerges stronger and more dynamic than ever before,” commented NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong. “With our data serving as a baseline for the state of licensure, we can monitor the impact and identify opportunities to provide support in the years to come.”

The 2019 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards also reveals that there continue to be more reciprocal (out-of-state) licenses than resident licenses issued across the U.S. There were 137,639 reciprocal licenses reported in 2019, approximately 10 percent more than in 2018 and over 20,000 higher than the number of individual architects. This marks the largest increase seen in recent years and could be a result of many factors, including market needs and efforts to publicize pathways to reciprocity for architects.

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