News from APA’s Center for Workforce Studies
1. Mental illness is defined as having reported a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year, based on criteria specified in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition – Text Revised.
2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Behavioral Health, United States, 2012. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4797.
3. American Psychological Association (2014) 2012 APA state licensing board list. [Unpublished special analysis]. Washington, DC: Author.
4. Data were collected from state boards of psychology and de-duplicated internally by the American Psychological Association. U.S. Census region
definitions were utilized to define regional per 1,000 population rates reporting any mental illness rates. http://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/
5. Jenks natural breaks classification method was utilized to determine map intervals.
States with the largest concentration of adults reporting mental illness don’t always have the most licensed
psychologists, according to data from the Census Bureau, APA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
In 2011, an estimated 41. 4 million U.S. adults ( 17. 8 percent of the population) reported having any mental
illness in the past year. 1 But those adults with mental illness were not evenly distributed across the states.
New Mexico ( 23. 6 percent), Utah ( 23. 5 percent) and Washington ( 23. 4 percent) reported the highest levels of
any mental illness, while New Jersey ( 10. 6 percent), Nevada ( 11. 3 percent) and Illinois (13.9 percent) reported
the lowest levels.
Are psychologists in the states that have the most mental illness?
Nationwide, approximately 2. 6 psychologists are licensed for every 1,000 adults who reported having any
mental illness in the past year. 1, 2, 3 These clinicians, though, also are not evenly distributed. The District of
Columbia ( 10. 5 percent) and Vermont ( 5. 8 percent) reported the highest representation of licensed psychologists for every adult with any mental illness, while Mississippi (0.7 percent) and South Carolina (0.8 percent)
had the lowest.234 Regionally, the South ( 1. 8 percent) reported the lowest representation of licensed psychologists as compared with the Northeast ( 4. 3 percent), West ( 2. 7 percent) and Midwest ( 2. 3 percent) regions. 2, 3, 4
Although these data show that some states have lower concentrations of psychologists and higher concentrations of mental illness than others, further research is required to determine the extent to which societal
needs are or are not being met by the available psychology workforce.
— Auntré Hamp, MEd, MPH, Karen Stamm, PhD, Peggy Christidis, PhD, and Andrew Nigrinis, PhD
For more information, contact APA’s Center for Workforce Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.