Midwife Monday: ACNM Core Data Survey

Happy Monday! I had a short weekend around here due to a 24 hour shift on Friday night followed by sleeping most of Saturday (thank you to the husband!). I had two mamas with beautiful births so as always, the sleep deprivation is worth it.

Today I want to chat about a survey conducted every few years by ACNM called the Core Data Survey. I personally like to comb through the survey results pretty thoroughly because I think it paints a good picture of overall midwifery in the country, as well as areas that are strong or weak in midwifery. I also like to compare salaries across the country since we move every few years right now.

ACNM sent out a snapshot of the most recent survey completed, but the full survey won’t be published until the fall. The highlights were as follows:

  • “A total of 1,208 midwives completed the survey for a response rate of 18.7%.
  • The majority of respondents were female (98%) with a mean age of 50.3 years. The most frequent response to age were those in the category of 56-65 years (26%). Fewer than one-fifth (19%) were 35 years of age or younger.
  • The majority of respondents self-identified as white (92%) followed by African American or Black (3%). Four percent indicated Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.
  • The majority (56%) of midwives earned between $90,000 and $129,000/year.
  • The top three areas of employment were physician-involved group practice, hospital or HMO, and education.
  • Over one-third of responding CNMs/CMs indicated they were able to provide midwifery services in Spanish (34%).
  • There are a total of seven ACNM regions. The fewest number of respondents practiced in Region 5 (9%); other Region response rates ranged from 12% to 19%.
  • The heaviest concentration of midwives was near large metropolitan areas of the U.S. with few practicing in more rural areas.

Full release of the findings, including a comparison between the 2015 and 2019 data sets in the form of a trends report, is anticipated for fall 2020.”

Here are my thoughts! First, I’m glad to see salary has increased a little since the last survey – midwives work really, really hard. We sacrifice a lot and you almost never hear us complain. That being said, I don’t think we should be paid as physicians but am happy to see that compensation averages 6-figures for half of midwives.

Almost all respondents were an average age of 50 years! That was a surprise to me. Are these individuals planning on retiring soon? What will that look like for the midwifery workforce? Maybe it’s time for you to be a midwife 🙂

The top three areas of employment were also of interest to me – it looks like there are a lot of midwives working in education – and thank goodness for that. Most of the midwives that work in education do so at the decrease of working at the bedside. That’s not always true but it is often the case. Most midwives will continue to work at the bedside one to two days a week to maintain certification and competencies.

Lastly, I was so impressed that 1/3 of midwives reported being able to provide care in Spanish. That is so heartwarming to hear. I worked a big county hospital in Dallas, TX when I first became a labor and delivery nurse in 2008 and that is where I learned all my Spanish – you either learned Spanish or you didn’t communicate with almost 50% of your patients.

What do you guys think of the preliminary results? When the official report is published, I’ll post another recap.

Haven’t read the other surveys before? If you have access to the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, you’ll find past Core Survey results published there every 3-4 years. I couldn’t find a link to them on the ACNM website that provided a recap.

Hope your weekend was lovely and restful!


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