The U.S. has roughly the same number of licensed Naturopathic physicians as it does comedians. I was surprised to learn this, since I know so many NDs (comes with the territory) but no comedians. I would guess that your average stand-up comedian would say the opposite.
The most current statistic on numbers in our profession comes from an article written several years ago, which was seeking to quantify and describe the typical professional duties of an ND. In the U.S. there are about 1300 in the field, in Canada, there are only 500. I don't know what comparison I can draw for a profession of only 500, maybe rodeo clowns?
In other words, the field is relatively small. And with hundreds of students graduating this spring from the seven accredited schools in U.S. and Canada, I expect the field to grow exponentially in the coming decades. Already, there have been leaps and bounds in the last few years that I've kept tabs on our profession- one after another, states have been initiating licensure or expanding the scope of Naturopathic physicians.
What does the future hold for new and established NDs? And what for their current and future patients? And how about for the role of Naturopathy in integrative medicine, or just medicine as a whole? Some of the current developments are increasing residency positions and increasing integration of Naturopathy into federal and state health insurance programs. This can be seen in the recent changes to add NDs to provider lists in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Oregon Health Plan's newly formed Coordinated Care Organization.
We have a lot to offer all of the above groups, and this will continue all the more so in the years and decades to come.