Nursing assistants, who make up more than a third of the nursing home workforce, have a median income of around $21,200 annually, a new report finds. Fifteen percent live below the federal poverty line.

PHI (the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute)’s latest snapshot of 594,460 nursing assistants, states that “the work of nursing assistant is challenging and offers few material rewards.” In particular, NAs are injured 3.4 times more frequently than a typical U.S. worker.

The average nursing assistant is earning $12.84 per hour (adjusted for inflation) compared to $12.78 in 2007, PHI said.

“The poor quality and inadequate compensation of nursing assistant jobs makes it difficult for nursing homes to attract and retain enough workers to meet demand, resulting in a persistent workforce shortage,” the report notes. “These staffing challenges will be exacerbated as changing demographics drive up demand in the years ahead,” with the senior population expected to almost double, to 88 million, by 2050.

More data is available here.