Oregon’s Nonprofits in 2020

by Dallas Fridley

May 12, 2021

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 2020 nonprofit stats:

  • 10,000 nonprofit establishments
  • 185,800 nonprofit jobs
  • 42% of all nonprofits were in the other services industry
  • 64% of nonprofit employment was in health care and social assistance
  • $59,455 in annual average pay
  • $26.98 median hourly wage (3rd quarter 2020)
  • 13% of nonprofit jobs paid under $15.00 per hour
  • Most nonprofit jobs – 70% – 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 2020, there were around 10,000 nonprofits business units that filed an employment report in Oregon. Most of these employer (94%) averaged one or more jobs in 2020 but around 800 units missed that threshold. Nonprofit organizations played an integral role in Oregon's economy. They made up 6% of all private businesses in the state and had 185,800 jobs, accounting for 12% of Oregon's private-sector employment. As a share of Oregon's total (private and public) employment, nonprofits made up 10% in 2020, about the same amount as the state’s manufacturing industry.

Nonprofits by Industry

Health care and social assistance dominated Oregon’s nonprofit employment in 2020, representing 118,100 jobs or 64%. Other services included 22,300 nonprofit jobs and educational services employed 18,900. Together, the top three industries represented 86% of Oregon’s total nonprofit employment.

Service Organizations

Other services represented about 12% of the state's nonprofit employment (22,300 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 42% of Oregon's nonprofit organizations (4,200).
Nonprofit Hospitals: Health Care and Social Assistance

Health care and social assistance led nonprofits with 118,100 jobs or 64% 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 73 reporting units in 2020 and employed 56,800, or 48% of the nonprofit health care and social assistance industry's total employment. Hospitals in Oregon (government and private) included 104 reporting units and provided 68,200 jobs in 2020, with nonprofit hospitals representing 83% of the employment.

Educational and Employment Training Providers

Educational services accounted for 10% of Oregon's nonprofit employment in 2020 with 18,900 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 9,200 jobs (49%) and 347 reporting units (40%). Nonprofit colleges, universities, and professional schools accounted for 8,100 jobs (43%) while representing 26% of the nonprofit educational services provider reporting units. Other schools and instruction, including sports training, provided 1,200 jobs (6%), and a more significant 22% of nonprofit educational services reporting units.

Pay at Nonprofits Follows Industry Standards

Oregon's private for-profit industries paid an average $58,905 in 2020, compared with $59,455 for nonprofits, a difference of $550, or 1%. Although the average wage gap between for-profit and nonprofit employers was just 1% in 2020, their industry profiles were quite different.
In 2020, six industry sectors reported higher annual average wages for nonprofits compared with for-profit businesses. Nonprofits in financial activities paid an average $86,450 in 2020, which exceeded for-profit pay by about $6,000 or 7%. Leisure and hospitality also favored nonprofits by about $8,610, despite having a relatively low annual average pay at $32,704.

Health care and social assistance, Oregon’s largest nonprofit industry, enjoyed a pay advantage of nearly $16,900 or 35% over for-profit employers, paying an average $64,700 in 2020. Other services paid $35,766 in 2020, falling about $8,600 or 19% below for-profit employers. Educational services paid an average $45,255 in 2020, exceeding for-profit pay by about $5,500 or 14%.

Rural Versus Urban

Oregon's 23 nonmetro counties provided a home base for 1,740 nonprofit employer units in 2020 or 7% of all nonmetro private industry employer reporting units. Nonprofit organizations provided about 22,200 rural Oregon jobs, or 11% of all private employment. Rural nonprofit pay averaged $51,279 in 2020, which exceeded the average for all private industries by about 24% or around $9,760.

In Oregon’s metropolitan areas, nonprofits provided close to 163,600 jobs in 2020, or 12% of all metro private employment. With about 8,300 employer units, metros provided a home base for 83% of Oregon nonprofits while representing just 6% of all metro employer units. In 2020, nonprofit pay averaged $60,563 in metro Oregon, falling 1% (about $900) below the all private industries average.

Only four rural counties provided more than 1% of Oregon’s nonprofit jobs in 2020. Douglas County led rural Oregon with 3,500 nonprofit jobs, or 1.9% of Oregon’s total, followed by Klamath County (1.5%), Umatilla County (1.3%), and Wasco County (1.0%). Metropolitan areas commanded 88% of Oregon’s nonprofit employment led by Multnomah County’s 33% (about 61,100 jobs). Together with Washington County (10.8%) and Lane County (8.2%), Oregon’s top three metro counties represented 52% of all nonprofit jobs in 2020.

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. Despite COVID-19 impacts, private health care and social assistance grew by just 0.1% in 2020, an increase of around 340 jobs. The industry received a one-year boost of 21,900 jobs in 2018 with the reclassification of home care workers from state government. With those caveat out of the way, private health care and social assistance grew by nearly 69,000 jobs over the decade, an increase of 35%. With 64% of Oregon’s nonprofit employment in 2020, health care and social assistance will largely determine how and where new jobs are gained.

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