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2022 NNA Notary Census, Part 1: A new generation of Notaries?

Illustration of two figures using a magnifying glass to examine a US map

Part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2, covering state Notary population changes in the past 5 years, can be found here.

In terms of numbers, the U.S. Notary population hasn’t changed much in the past 5 years. But while the numbers remain stable, the demographics of America’s Notary population are showing unprecedented evolution.

The total number of Notaries today remains stable at 4.4 million, close to our count 5 years ago. But due to the COVID pandemic’s impact on the U.S. job market and the growing visibility of social media influencers in the industry, a new generation of Notaries is coming into the fold — younger, often college-educated, and drawn to the potential income of working in the “gig economy” as full- or part-time mobile Notaries and Notary Signing Agents.

Chart showing Notary Census 2022 information on Notary population
The total number of Notaries today remains stable at 4.4 million. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau & NNA Research)

How the pandemic shook up the Notary status quo

Every 5 years, the NNA collects data from state officials and survey participants for a census of the state and nationwide population of U.S. Notaries. As of 2017, the demographic makeup of America’s Notaries had remained consistent for decades. Most said they obtained commissions to perform notarizations on behalf of their employers. Because so many Notaries pulled double duty as employees, the first place many customers went to get documents notarized was a bank or other business where notarization services were open to the public.   

Bar Chart showing Notaries outnumbering other professions in the US
How Notaries compare to other professions in the U.S.

As The National Notary Bulletin has reported, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed how to find Notary services. As the pandemic forced cities to lockdown through 2019 and 2021, employee Notaries were no longer readily available to the public. Banks and companies shut their doors and sent their employees home either to wait out the crisis or telecommute. Businesses no longer had Notaries available to walk-in customers.

But the public’s need for Notaries didn’t slow down—in fact, demand for Notaries in 2020 reached an all-time high.  With so many brick and mortar businesses out of action, the public turned to independent mobile Notaries for help — and as a result, mobile Notaries saw demand for their services skyrocket.

“Refis, wills, power of attorney documents were more plentiful because of COVID. Normally they wouldn’t ask me for those types of notarizations,” said Virginia mobile Notary John Wonsik. “A lot of signers had documents relating to their elderly parents, or a spouse who is working in a high-risk environment.” At the height of the pandemic, Wonsik was so busy he was turning away 20 notarizations a day.

While it will likely take years to develop full picture of the pandemic’s impact from available data, there are clear signs that COVID-19 shifted many Notaries to mobile services and Signing Agent work. According to data from the NNA’s “Find a Notary Public” page, searches for mobile Notaries shot up 1,750 percent in 2020, with 187,500 people visiting the page in a single year.

The pandemic-driven demand thrust Notaries full throttle into the gig economy, with more and more Notaries working for themselves instead of employers. More people are considering notarization as a full-time or part-time career. Florida mobile Notary Jonathan D. Rexford said, “Being a Notary gave me a life purpose at a real low moment in my life.”

“I retired from being an HR Personnel Officer and needed to continue keeping my mind sharp and focused,” said Jerry Knoester of California. “Being a mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent allows me to continue that ‘iron sharpens iron’ skill.”

Younger people are being drawn to Notary work in 2022

As the pandemic affected Notaries, so does the nation’s aging population. In past years, many Notaries identified themselves as age 50 or older. As the “Boomer” generation ages, they’re retiring from the workforce as reflected by our numbers. In 2017, 42 percent of Notaries surveyed described themselves as age 56 and older. This year, it’s down to 32.8 percent. And more young people are joining the Notary ranks, with 27.4 percent of those surveyed listing themselves as 35 years of age or younger, up from 12 percent five years ago.

Chart showing the age distribution of Notaries in 2022
More young people are joining the Notary ranks. (Source: NNA Research Center)
Chart showing Notary Census 2022 information on gender breakdown
63% of Notaries identify as female. (Source: NNA Research Center)

Apart from Notary work helping younger people jump-start their work careers, Notary influencers on social media are drawing more attention from younger viewers looking for income options. Today, many people use platforms such as YouTube or Facebook to find information when looking for new ways to earn money or change careers. Some younger Notaries have their own YouTube channels where they talk about being a Notary, answer Notary-related questions and even give money-making tips and business strategies.

One of these influencers is Sharelle Evans, who hosts “LoveLee Notary” on YouTube and has almost 15,000 subscribers. “I went to YouTube University and didn’t find enough Notary information, so I decided to get a channel and share my journey and mentor others along the way,” she said.

Thanks to influencers like Evans, more people are willing to try working as Notaries today. More than one-third of the Notaries surveyed by the NNA in 2022 said they, like Evans, have become Notaries within the past 5 years. And Notaries reported coming from careers as diverse as healthcare, education, entertainment, hospitality and students.

Chart showing Notary Census 2022 information on years as a Notary
Over a third of those surveyed had become Notaries within the past 5 years. (Source: NNA Research Center)

Texas concierge Notary Angela Yvette retired from the military and wanted to start her own business. “Becoming a Notary/Loan Signing Agent allowed me to manage my own schedule. I get to meet and provide a service to an array of different people from different cultures and walks of life,” she said.

Chart showing Notary Census 2022 information on education levels
Many of our survey respondents report having a college degree. (Source: NNA Research Center)

Looking to the future for U.S. Notaries

Looking ahead, the next 5 years holds new opportunities for Notaries that may lead to changes as dramatic as those between 2017 and 2022. Due to the necessities of avoiding face-to-face contact during the pandemic, more than 40 U.S. states now authorize Notaries to perform remote notarizations where Notaries and signers communicate through live audiovisual communication instead of meeting physically in the same location.

But despite the rapid enactment of laws in many states, remote notarizations remain rare compared to the millions of traditional notarizations performed each year. 27 percent of Notaries we surveyed this year — many who are certified Signing Agents or mobile Notaries — said they are authorized to perform remote notarizations. However, nearly half of those reported they have only performed 5 or fewer.

It remains to be seen how these new technologies and business trends in the coming years will impact the work of Notaries. But with the need for Notaries and their services still high, it is reassuring that a new generation of Notaries is as ready and willing to serve the public as those that preceded them.

Related Articles:

How To Become A Notary Public

Notary Quick-Start Training


Add your comment

Jennifer Buswell

22 Aug 2022


George Gordon

22 Aug 2022

This is a renewal

22 Aug 2022

I see a los People miss inform they come with paperas already sign and they say other notary did sign for them before


22 Aug 2022

This was very useful, valuable info that can be communicated to my customers if the need exists.

Betty J Dedman

22 Aug 2022

I am surprised that the largest group on NSA's has only practiced for a few years, the 1-4 years group. My signings are way down, and my favorite vendors signings are down, as well. In my neck of the woods many vendors have gone back to offering dirt cheap rates, and I don't make a profit if I accept these rates. SOMEBODY IS accepting these rates, and I believe it is Notaries new to the business. Perhaps these notaries don't have to buy their supplies, but the people who Do have to buy their own printers, toners, drums, pens, certifications and yearly background checks and paper are subsidizing somebody else's loans/doing single documents for practically free at the average current rates. I have been an NSA since 2013. I operate a Schedule 3, py for my car, gasoline and upkeep, write off my mileage, supplies and meals (only signing days.) I wonder how long these Newbies will stick with it, if they suddenly discover that they are running a deficit? You are NOT allowed to run your small business and take a loss every year, you know.

Melinda Buckley-Dupre

24 Aug 2022

I have been a Notary Public for 14 years. And to make a profit was very difficult doing the pandemic. Every year the prices changed because the cost of living changed. Perhaps, in 2023 everything will get back to normal. E-Notarization was a life changer. But office supplies did increased a great deal. And travel became very limited.

Shirley Caldwell

28 Aug 2022

Melinda, where did you get your vendors for E-Notarizations? I am very interested in this. I closed down my business during the 2020 - 2022 pandemic and want to get started again. Any assistance will be appreciated!

Josie Kopliny

16 Jul 2023

Notary agents have definitely increased and my partners and I can feel the heat. We've been able to find more jobs through places like Guard Grabber. Good luck to everyone in their Notary business!

Stephen Reich

04 Sep 2023

Most people in NYC say it is hard to find a notary. . Most banks no longer do notarizations and customers don't like going online. And how can you make a living when the NY fee is $2 per sig. And doing mobile in NYC is dangerous due to the gun epidemic. I believe the NYC has shrunk

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