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Sector outpaces economy

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The U.S. nonprofit sector has grown faster than the U.S. economy over the past decade, a new study says.

Total revenues for the nation’s 1.4 million nonprofits totaled $1.36 trillion in 2004, up 61.5 percent since 1994, compared with a 36.6 percent rise in gross domestic product over the same period.

The study, “The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Facts and Figures from the Nonprofit Almanac 2007,” was published by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics.

Expenses for the nonprofit sector barely outpaced revenues, growing 62.6 percent over the decade, the study says, while combined assets jumped 90.7 percent to $2.97 trillion.

Health-care organizations, including hospitals, make up about 13 percent of the public charities that report to the IRS, but they account for about six in 10 dollars in revenues and expenses for the sector.

Higher education nonprofits, including colleges and universities, account for less than 1 percent of nonprofits, but represent more than one in every 10 dollars in revenue and expenses.

Human-services agencies, on the other hand, make up about one in three public charities, but account for only about 14 percent of the sector’s revenues and 11 percent of its assets.

The vast majority of the sector’s combined revenues, more than seven in 10 dollars, come from fees charged for services, the study says, while about 13 percent come from private donations and about 9 percent is in the form of grants.

Overall, the nonprofit sector accounts for 5.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and 8.3 percent of wages and salaries, the study says.

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