Cause IQ nonprofit insights

How Many Nonprofits Are in the US?

1,793,701

nonprofit organizations
in the United States

There are about 1.7 million active nonprofit organizations in the United States. These include all sorts of nonprofits, not just 501(c)(3) charities. When people ask how many nonprofits are in the US, oftentimes they are referring to charities, versus nonprofits as a whole. For example, they don't want to include country clubs or labor unions. To narrow down to just charities, we only look at 501(c)(3) nonprofits that can receive tax-decuctible donations, and exclude hospitals and universities (because people often colloquially don't refer to them as charities). There are 1.4 million active charities in the United States.

Which nonprofit types are most common?

Churches, schools, and foundations dominate the nonprofit sector, accounting for almost 40% of all nonprofits in the United States. After that, about 15% of organizations are classic civil, social, and business engagement organizations, including little leagues, chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations. The next seven percent include emergency assistance providers, residential care facilities, and other human services. Another seven percent are museums, arts groups, and other cultural and humanities nonprofits. The remaining types of nonprofits — about one third of all nonprofits — all have four percent or less of the total, and include everything from unions to environmental advocacy to think tanks and civil rights.

Nonprofit type (NTEE code) Number of organizations
Religious organizations and churches (X)16.8%
 
300,567
 
Schools and educational institutions (B)13.8%
 
247,361
 
Foundations and grantmaking organizations (T)9.2%
 
165,591
 
Recreation centers, sports teams, and social clubs (N)7.4%
 
133,624
 
Business associations and community development organizations (S)6.9%
 
123,957
 
Human services organizations (P)6.9%
 
123,246
 
Arts, culture, and humanities organizations (A)6.8%
 
121,689
 
Mutual assistance and financial organizations (Y)3.7%
 
66,874
 
Public sector, public cooperatives, and veteran organizations (W)3.2%
 
56,623
 
Youth development organizations (O)2.9%
 
52,381
 
Health care organizations (E)2.7%
 
48,788
 
Unions and employment organizations (J)2.6%
 
46,432
 
Animal-focused nonprofit organizations (D)2.4%
 
43,858
 
Housing providers and shelters (L)2.0%
 
35,664
 
Environmental organizations (C)1.5%
 
26,643
 
Mental health organizations (F)1.4%
 
25,505
 
International and foreign affairs organizations (Q)1.3%
 
24,135
 
Public safety organizations (M)1.3%
 
23,163
 
Food and agriculture programs (K)1.2%
 
21,442
 
Criminal and legal assistance organizations (I)0.9%
 
16,834
 
Medical disease and disorder focused nonprofits (G)0.9%
 
16,333
 
Civil rights and advocacy organizations (R)0.7%
 
13,310
 
Science and technology research centers (U)0.4%
 
7,822
 
Medical research organizations (H)0.4%
 
7,382
 
Social science research organizations (V)0.1%
 
2,609
 

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