Shifting Demographics in the Industry


In the first half of 2022, AAMFT conducted an industry workforce study to examine the shifts related to COVID-19, their short- and longer-term impacts, and what challenges and opportunities are facing the field. In each issue of Family Therap-eNews, we examine a data point from this report.  

In 2012, during AAMFT’s last survey, diversity within the field was beginning to show signs of growth, particularly within racial and ethnic demographics. While total respondents at the time only indicated 17% population that identified as a person of color, student respondents showed significantly more diversity with nearly 27% identifying as a person of color.

In 2022, the racial and ethnic diversity in the field has continued to grow with over 25% of respondents indicating they identified as a person of color. Growth was particularly notable among those in the field identifying as Black/African American (up from 4.3% of respondents in 2012 to over 11% of respondents in 2022) and Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin (up from 3.77% in 2012 to 7% in 2022). Within student responses, this growth in diversity was even more prominent. Racial/ethnic diversity among researchers and academics was similar to overall response trends.

Similar to the 2012 survey, the MFT field continues to be predominantly composed of those who identify as women (77%), with 19% responding they identify as male, and 2% as gender non-conforming/binary. Age and tenure of respondents was evenly distributed among all categories. Over one-third (34%) reported working in the field for 11-20 years, and a fifth (20%) for over 20 years. A quarter (25%) worked in the field for less than 6 years, and a fifth for 6-10 years (20%). About a fifth reported being between the ages of 31-40 (23%), 41-50 (22%), or 51-60 (20%).

These data are of note because in 2012, over 35% of AAMFT members were 65 years of age or older and the average age of an AAMFT member was 50 years old. The threat to the industry of a retirement bubble burst was one of the key emergent challenges. Today, the percentage of members over 65 years of age has lowered to 20% and the average age is 45.7 years. The average student member age in 2022 is 34.5 years with over 40% under the age of 30.

A key takeaway from the study was a desire for increased advocacy efforts related to licensure portability, parity with other mental health disciplines, and reimbursement. AAMFT’s Practice Protection Fund (PPF) is designed to help support vital growth efforts like these, as well as work against threats and challenges to the profession. Unfortunately, it is supported by less than a quarter of licensed MFTs in the U.S. Please donate to this vital work by texting PPF to 53-555, or visiting givebutter.com/PPF

>>To download the full report, visit aamft.org/workforcestudy

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