According to the American Bar Association there are currently 1,116,967 lawyers practicing in the United States. That is approximately one for every 300 people, or approximately 0.36% of the total population. These statistics relate only to those currently practicing and maintaining their licenses. There are far more with inactive or retired status.
Demographic statistics give us a picture of the typical lawyer as Caucasian and male. Roughly 75% are male, and only 25% female. By far, Caucasians comprise the majority of lawyers in the US. They currently make up slightly fewer than 90% of all attorneys. These statistics are in flux however. In 1996, for example, Caucasians represented 96%, suggesting that those from minority populations are increasing.
Lawyers from minority populations are still underrepresented, however. Blacks make up 4%. Hispanics comprise 3%. Asians are the least represented at 2% of the total number.
Demographic information also informs us that about 75% work in the private sector. The greatest number of lawyers work in their own firm, about 48% with no partners. Others are most likely to work in either a small firm of two to five members, or a very large firm of over 100. About 28% either work in a small, or very large firm.
However, firms that employ over 100 lawyers represent only 1% of the type of law firms in the US. Most firms, about 78%, have between two to five attorneys. Few work for the government or as public defenders: about 8% are employed by the government, and less than 1% work as public defenders. Approximately 3% work as judges.
California and New York each have over 100,000 lawyers representing the two states with the highest numbers of employed attorneys. Illinois has the third highest number of employed attorneys, over 60,000. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Florida and Pennsylvania currently have over 40,000 in each area.
The District of Columbia has by far the highest concentration of people in this profession, but this is to be expected since it is the capital of the US. New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston all have a high number per city.