How many people are employed in the U.S. nonprofit sector?
According to a 2019 report by the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofits account for roughly one in 10 jobs in the U.S. private workforce, with total employees numbering 12.3 million in 2016. Over the decade since 2007, nonprofit jobs grew almost four times faster than the for-profit ones.
For the first time, nonprofit employment now equals manufacturing. Retail trade and accommodation and food services are the only U.S. industries that employ more people than nonprofits.
"What these data show, among other things, is that nonprofit organizations are a far more sizable economic force in this country than is commonly appreciated," the report says. "They employ millions of people, generate huge wage payments that in turn lead to substantial income and sale tax revenues for state and federal governments, and save governments further costs through programs that reduce the incidence of a wide variety of social ills...."
Health, education and social assistance account for 81 percent of nonprofit jobs. Nonprofit employment by sector is about 55% for health services, 16% for education, 12% for social assistance, 7% for grantmakers, religious organizations, civic, professional and similar organizations such as environmental groups, 3% for arts and recreation, 4% for other services, and 2% for professional services.
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Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:
National Council of Nonprofits
State Nonprofit Data & Reports
This interactive map provides nonprofit data by state, including employment, revenues, expenses, assets, and contributions. When available, it also provides links to the latest state-level report on the nonprofit sector, and to the state association's most recent nonprofit salary survey/compensation & benefits report and nonprofit job board.