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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

April 15, 2003
(410) 516-8541

Data Released on Worldwide Nonprofit Sector
Johns Hopkins-led effort tracks 35 countries

The world's nonprofit sector engages nearly 40 million people and has annual expenditures of $1.3 trillion, larger than the gross domestic product of all but the six largest countries, according to a new report released today by The Johns Hopkins University.

These findings are based on a study of the nonprofit, or civil society sector, conducted by 150 researchers in 35 countries around the world.

"The data we are releasing today make clear that the nonprofit sector is a potent presence not only in the developed countries of Europe and North America, but also in the developing countries of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia," said Lester M. Salamon, director of the Johns Hopkins study and of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

Salamon released the latest findings of the Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project (CNP) at a briefing in Washington at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. These findings extend the project's coverage to 13 countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia in addition to countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Among the findings:

The nonprofit sector represents 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the countries studied.

If this sector in just the 35 countries studied were a nation, it would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world, ahead of Italy, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Canada.

The nonprofit sector in these countries employs the equivalent of 39.5 million full-time workers, making it a major employer. (This includes 21.8 million paid staff and 12.6 million full-time equivalent volunteers.)

The number of people employed in this sector amounts to 46 percent of public sector employment in these countries and 10 times the employment in the utilities and textile industries.

All told, more than 190 million people serve as volunteers in the nonprofit sector in the countries studied.

The nonprofit workforce - - both paid and volunteer -- is proportionately larger in developed countries than in developing ones. Significant civil society sectors are present, however, in many developing countries as well, especially those in Africa.

The scale of civil society in developing countries remains constrained by limited financial support. Only 22 percent of nonprofit sector revenue comes from government in these countries, which contrasts sharply with the developed countries.

The United States does not have the largest nonprofit sector; in fact, nonprofit organizations in at least three of the countries studied engage proportionally more nonprofit workers than do U.S. nonprofits.

The nonprofit sector includes hospitals, universities, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, environmental groups, NGOs, sports associations, museums and many other organizations.

For further information on the report, please contact Mimi Bilzor at 410-516-8541. Copies of the full report are available to reporters, upon request.

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