Cause IQ nonprofit insights

How Many Nonprofits Are in the US?

1,729,143

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)15.9%
 
274,776
 
Schools and educational institutions (B)13.9%
 
239,911
 
Foundations and grantmaking organizations (T)9.0%
 
155,999
 
Recreation centers, sports teams, and social clubs (N)7.5%
 
129,965
 
Business associations and community development organizations (S)7.1%
 
122,168
 
Human services organizations (P)6.7%
 
115,816
 
Arts, culture, and humanities organizations (A)6.7%
 
115,737
 
Mutual assistance and financial organizations (Y)3.9%
 
68,265
 
Public sector, public cooperatives, and veteran organizations (W)3.2%
 
55,918
 
Youth development organizations (O)2.9%
 
49,763
 
Unions and employment organizations (J)2.7%
 
47,461
 
Health care organizations (E)2.7%
 
47,274
 
Animal-focused nonprofit organizations (D)2.5%
 
42,874
 
Mental health organizations (F)2.1%
 
35,839
 
Housing providers and shelters (L)2.0%
 
34,556
 
Environmental organizations (C)1.5%
 
25,421
 
International and foreign affairs organizations (Q)1.4%
 
23,496
 
Public safety organizations (M)1.3%
 
22,237
 
Food and agriculture programs (K)1.2%
 
19,916
 
Criminal and legal assistance organizations (I)0.9%
 
15,729
 
Medical disease and disorder focused nonprofits (G)0.9%
 
15,552
 
Civil rights and advocacy organizations (R)0.8%
 
14,541
 
Science and technology research centers (U)0.5%
 
8,509
 
Medical research organizations (H)0.4%
 
6,934
 
Social science research organizations (V)0.1%
 
2,319
 

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