Oregon’s Nonprofits in 2019

by Dallas Fridley

April 28, 2020

A not-for-profit corporation, commonly referred to as a "nonprofit," is organized to achieve a purpose other than to generate a profit. These entities qualify for federal tax exempt status and must reinvest any surplus revenues into efforts that further the mission of the organization. They are prohibited from passing profits on to those who control the organization. These organizations range from trade unions and religious groups to food banks and private schools. Many hospitals are also organized as nonprofit corporations.

For the purposes of this article, the impact presented is limited to employment and wages.

Oregon's 2019 nonprofit stats:

  • 9,900 nonprofit establishments
  • 198,300 nonprofit jobs
  • 43 percent of all nonprofits were in the other services industry
  • 61 percent of nonprofit employment was in health care and social assistance
  • $54,512 in annual average pay
  • $24.27 median hourly wage (3rd quarter 2019)
  • 19 percent of nonprofit jobs paid $15.00 or less per hour
  • Most nonprofit jobs – 62 percent – paid $20.00 or more per hour
Keep in mind that not all nonprofit organizations are employers – and these organizations would be overlooked if relying solely on employment data. Nonprofits in Oregon must register and be certified by the Secretary of State’s office, while the Department of Justice regulates charitable activities.

The Secretary of State’s office provides a searchable database of active nonprofit corporations, available at this URL:


Likewise, the Department of Justice has a searchable database for Oregon charities, here:


How Many Nonprofit Employers are there in Oregon?

In 2019, there were 9,900 nonprofits business units that filed an employment report in Oregon. Most of these employer (94%) averaged one or more jobs in 2019 but around 600 units missed that threshold. Nonprofit organizations played an integral role in Oregon's economy. They made up 6 percent of all private businesses in the state and had 198,300 jobs, accounting for 12 percent of Oregon's private-sector employment. As a share of Oregon's total (private and public) employment, nonprofits made up 10 percent in 2019, about the same amount as the state’s manufacturing industry.

Nonprofits by Industry

Health care and social assistance dominated Oregon’s nonprofit employment in 2019, representing 121,900 jobs or 61 percent. Other services included 25,300 nonprofit jobs and educational services employed 20,100. Together, the top three industries represented 85 percent of Oregon’s total nonprofit employment.

Service Organizations

Other services represented about 13 percent of the state's nonprofit employment (25,300 jobs). The correlation between other services and nonprofits makes sense. It is the industry that includes religious, grant making, civic, professional, and similar organizations. Places of worship, the Boys & Girls Club, The United Way, and local chambers of commerce are some of the most widely recognized nonprofits in Oregon, and there are a lot of these organizations across the state. Other services accounted for 43 percent of Oregon's nonprofit organizations (4,300).
Nonprofit Hospitals: Health Care and Social Assistance

Health care and social assistance led nonprofits with 121,900 jobs or 61 percent of Oregon's nonprofit employment. Like other services, there is diversity in the industry from assisted living facilities to mental health services. However, hospitals completely overshadow the sector’s employment. Oregon’s nonprofit hospitals (general medical and surgical; psychiatric and substance abuse; and specialty) included 72 reporting units in 2019 and employed 57,300, or 47 percent of the nonprofit health care and social assistance industry's. Hospitals in Oregon (government and private) included 102 reporting units and provided 68,700 jobs in 2019, with nonprofit hospitals representing 83 percent of the employment.

Educational and Employment Training Providers

Educational services accounted for 11 percent of Oregon's nonprofit employment in 2019 with 20,900 jobs. The organizations in this industry range from preschools and tutoring services to colleges and employment training places. Nonprofit elementary and secondary schools represented the biggest slice with 10,000 jobs (48%) and 342 reporting units (40%). Nonprofit colleges, universities, and professional schools accounted for 8,700 jobs (42%) while representing 20 percent of the nonprofit educational services provider reporting units. Other schools and instruction, including sports training, provided 1,500 jobs (7%), and a more significant 21 percent of nonprofit educational services provider reporting units.

Pay at Nonprofits Follows Industry Standards

Oregon's private for-profit industries paid an average $52,852 in 2019, compared with $54,512 for nonprofits, a difference of $1,660, or 3 percent. The for-profit vs nonprofit wage differential reflects differences in their respective industry profiles.
In 2019, six industry sectors reported higher annual average wages for nonprofits compared with for-profit businesses. Nonprofits in financial activities paid an average $82,451 in 2019, which exceeded for-profit pay by about $9,900 or 14 percent. Leisure and hospitality also favored nonprofits by about $4,900, despite having a relatively low annual average pay at $28,520.

Health care and social assistance, Oregon’s largest nonprofit industry, enjoyed a pay advantage of more than $14,100 or 30 percent over for-profit employers, paying an average $60,763 in 20198. Other services paid $32,050 in 2019, falling about $4,700 or 13 percent below for-profit employers. Educational services paid an average $41,651 in 2019, exceeding for-profit pay by over $5,900 or 17 percent.

Rural Versus Urban

Oregon's 23 nonmetro counties provided a home base for about 1,800 nonprofit employer units in 2019 or 7 percent of all rural employer reporting units. Nonprofit organizations provided about 23,500 rural Oregon jobs, or 11 percent of all industries employment. Rural nonprofit pay averaged $47,240 in 2019, which exceeded the average for all industries by about 17 percent or around $6,700.

In Oregon’s metropolitan areas, nonprofits provided close to 174,800 jobs in 2019, or 10 percent of all metro employment. With 8,100 employer units, metros provided a home base for 82 percent of Oregon nonprofits while representing just 6 percent of all metro employer units. In 2019, nonprofit pay averaged $55,488 in metro Oregon, falling 1 percent (about $700) below the all industries average.

Only four rural counties provided more than 1 percent of Oregon’s nonprofit jobs in 2019. Douglas County led rural Oregon with 3,700 nonprofit jobs, or 1.9 percent of Oregon’s total, followed by Klamath County (1.4%), Umatilla County (1.2%), and Wasco County (1.0%). Metropolitan areas commanded 88 percent of Oregon’s nonprofit employment led by Multnomah County’s 33 percent (about 65,300 jobs). Together with Washington County (10.9%) and Lane County (8.4%), Oregon’s top three metro counties represented 52 of all nonprofit jobs in 2019.

The Future of Nonprofit Employment

The future of nonprofit employment in Oregon is directly linked to the future of the health care and social assistance industry. Private health care and social assistance grew by about 2.2 percent in 2019, an increase of around 6,200 jobs. The industry received a one-year boost of 16,700 jobs in 2018 with the reclassification of home care workers from state government. With that caveat out of the way, private health care and social assistance grew by nearly 79,000 jobs over the decade, an increase of 36 percent. With 61 percent of Oregon’s nonprofit employment in 2019, health care and social assistance will largely determine how and where new jobs are gained.

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