Health Services

Health care is the largest sector within the nonprofit industry in terms of economic value and employment.
Nonprofit health care comprises up to half of all nonprofit revenue and employment, and it has the largest share of wages and salaries in the nonprofit industry.  In 1997 the thirty thousand nonprofit organizations in America had $385 billion in revenue, $461 billion in assets, and 5 million employees.
Nonprofit general hospitals generate three times more revenue and jobs than government hospitals, and seven times more than their for-profit counterparts, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


The nonprofit education sector is includes colleges and universities, preschool, elementary, secondary schools, libraries, and research institutions.  The nonprofit education and research sector accounts for annual revenues of $175 billion.  Each year 8 million students study in nonprofit educational institutions.
This sector produces and disseminates cutting-edge knowledge and research to the benefit of millions of people in America and across the world.

Social and Legal Services

The nonprofit social and legal services sector includes legal pro bono aid counsels, individual and family services, residential care, job training, and community and housing development.
According to the Independent Sector and Urban Institute, the social and legal services sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the nonprofit industry, which reflects high demand for such services , which in turn leads to higher wages.

Civic and Environmental Advocacy

According to the U.S. Census, as of 2005 there are 8,300 “social advocacy organizations”.  Their combined revenues are $7.5 billion and they provide more than 85,000 jobs.  The two biggest advocacy groups are:

  • human rights
  • environment, conservation and wildlife

International Relations and Development

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that as of 2005 there are more than 2,000 American nonprofit organizations with a distinctly international focus.  These organizations combine to represent $5.8 billion in revenue, $5.4 billion in expenses, and $6.1 billion in assets.
Such organizations can be divided into four major subgroups:

  • foreign policy research and analysis
  • international development and relief
  • international human rights
  • international peace and security

Arts and Culture

The arts and culture sector is the smallest subsector in the nonprofit industry.  According the Independent Sector and Urban Institute, in 2004 it represented only 2 percent of the nonprofit sector’s total funds. Despite of that, the arts and culture sector includes performing-arts groups, ballet groups, nonprofit radio and television, scientific, natural, and historical museums, orchestras, literary organizations and various humanities-oriented organizations.

Make your pick!