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New Edition of Nonprofit Almanac Offers Detailed Portrait of an Expanding Sector

Document date: May 02, 2008
Released online: May 02, 2008

Contact: Simona Combi, (202) 261-5709, scombi@urban.org (Urban Institute)

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2008—The nonprofit sector’s role in the economy has expanded by most key measures since 1998. It employs more people, draws in more revenue, and contributes more to the gross domestic product than it did a decade ago.

The Nonprofit Almanac 2008, new from the Urban Institute Press, offers data and facts charting the sector’s recent evolution. The statistics-packed volume can help nonprofit managers, researchers, the press, and the public better understand changes in the sector and its economic role.

The Nonprofit Almanac’s 140 figures and tables detail revenues by type and amount, contributions, employment, expenses, and outlays, as well as other essential facts about nonprofits. Compiled by Kennard T. Wing, Thomas H. Pollak, and Amy Blackwood, the Almanac features charitable giving and volunteering trends, data on wages and employment, revenue tabulations, and other financial information.

The number of nonprofits grew to over 1.4 million organizations from 1.1 million in 1998. In 2006, nonprofits accounted for 5 percent of GDP, 8.1 percent of the economy’s wages, and 9.7 percent of jobs. Health nonprofits continue to dominate the sector, with 45.4 percent of its expenses and 23.9 percent of its assets. Education is the second largest subsector, with 11.8 percent of total expenses and 18.5 percent of total assets.

“As the sector grows in size and financial clout, policymakers and the public need information to understand its diversity, assess its impact, and ensure its accountability. With The Nonprofit Almanac 2008, we unveil a new generation of data that will make this fluid and changing sector more transparent,” says Elizabeth Boris, director of the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.

Sector highlights

  • In 2006, nonprofits contributed $666.1 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • In 2006, nonprofits received $1 trillion in revenue, a 5.7 percent increase over 2005.
  • In 2005, 12.9 million people worked for nonprofits, up from 11.1 million in 1998.
  • In 2006, wages and salaries totaled $489.4 billion, compared with $318.9 billion in 1998 (not adjusted for inflation).

Giving (not adjusted for inflation)

  • Private giving (individuals, foundations, and corporations) reached $295 billion in 2006, more than double 1996’s $139 billion.
  • Individuals donated $222.9 billion in 2006, compared with $107.6 billion in 1996; personal bequests added another $22.9 billion in 2006, up from $12 billion in 1996.
  • Foundations gave $36.5 billion in 2005, a 197 percent increase from 10 years earlier.
  • Corporations, including corporate foundations, donated $12.7 billion in 2006, up 69 percent from 10 years earlier.


  • 61.2 million people said they volunteered in 2005.
  • About 12.9 billion hours were volunteered in 2006, the equivalent of 7.6 million full-time employees.
  • In 2006, the estimated wage value of volunteer time was $215.6 billion—quivalent to 43.3 percent of all nonprofit wages.

Kennard T. Wing is a consultant and nonprofit researcher. Thomas H. Pollak is director of the National Center for Charitable Statistics, a program of the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Amy Blackwood is a consultant with the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

The Nonprofit Almanac 2008, by Kennard T. Wing, Thomas H. Pollak, and Amy Blackwood, with a foreword by Elizabeth T. Boris, is available from the Urban Institute Press (paper, 8.5" x 11", 270 pages, ISBN 978-0-87766-736-0, $39.50). Order online at http://www.uipress.org, call 410-516-6956, or dial 1-800-537-5487 toll-free.

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic, and governance challenges facing the nation.

Topics/Tags: | Governing | Nonprofits

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