Nonprofits stabilize Indiana's regional economies and employ thousands with well-paying jobs

Reports covering regions across Indiana provide nearly two decades of data on nonprofits' impact on Hoosier communities

EDITOR'S NOTE: This release was updated on June 15, 2021, to add reports from economic growth regions throughout the state.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A collection of new reports detailing the economic impact of nonprofits of economic growth regions across Indiana highlight the significant influence the organizations have, according to research from the Indiana Nonprofits Project, a collaborative effort between the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The reports highlight the significant economic impact that nonprofit establishments have in providing relatively well-paying jobs to tens of thousands of workers in each region:

  • Northwest Indiana, or Economic Growth Region 1, including Gary.
  • North Central Indiana, or EGR 2, including South Bend.
  • Northeast Indiana, or EGR 3, including Fort Wayne.
  • Northwest Central Indiana, or EGR 4, including Lafayette and Kokomo.
  • Central Indiana, or EGR 5, including Indianapolis.
  • East Central Indiana, or EGR 6, including Muncie and Richmond.
  • West Central Indiana, or EGR 7, including Terre Haute.
  • South Central Indiana, or EGR 8, including Bloomington.
  • Southeast Central Indiana, or EGR 9, including Columbus and Madison.
  • Southeast Indiana, or EGR 10, including a portion of the Louisville metro area.
  • Southwest Indiana, or EGR 11, including Evansville.

The results show the major effect that nonprofits have throughout the state. In Indianapolis, total nonprofit jobs in the region exceeded employment in all major for-profit industries in the region, including manufacturing, and surpassing retail trade jobs in 2018, according to the study results.

Nonprofit employment trailed only manufacturing jobs in Fort Wayne, accounting for a payroll of $1.7 billion in and around the city. And in Evansville, researchers found that nonprofit employment and payrolls, adjusted for inflation, have outpaced both the for-profit and government sectors.

These are just a handful of highlights from the series of reports, which, taken as a whole, provide a clear view of the role nonprofits play in Indiana.

The wages earned by nonprofit employees benefit the regional economies when those workers buy goods and services from local businesses. Nonprofit workers also contribute to state and local government finances when they pay state income taxes, state and local sales taxes, and local property taxes. The reports are based on Quarterly Covered Employment and Wage data submitted by nearly all Indiana employers.

"Since 2000, each of these regions have faced major economic challenges as jobs in manufacturing declined significantly from 2000 to 2010, with limited recovery in the following nine years," said Kirsten Grønbjerg, director of the Indiana Nonprofits Project. "The Great Recession (2007-08) created losses also in other industries. By comparison, over the 2000-2019 period, nonprofit employment and payroll grew in almost all regions, and often at faster rates than corresponding rates in the for-profit or government sectors. Clearly, the nonprofit sector played a stabilizing role in the economy of each region."

Nonprofit workers in each region play a vital role by providing community residents with key services in health care, social assistance, education, arts, culture and recreation, and more. In each of the regions, most nonprofit employees work in health care, with smaller proportions working in social assistance, education and membership associations.

The size of nonprofit establishments and average nonprofit annual wages vary considerably across these industries, though they are highest in health care and lowest in arts, entertainment and recreation. More detailed analysis shows that nonprofit establishments generally employ more workers on average than for-profit establishments in the major nonprofit industries and pay higher average annual wages in those industries.

Selected highlights from the regional reports

  • Northwest Indiana (EGR 1) Report
    • In 2019, nonprofits employed 33,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $1.5 billion -- about 11 percent of all paid employees and 10 percent of the total payroll in the region. In fact, nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) have grown considerably more than for-profit or government employment.
    • Nonprofit employment trails employment in manufacturing and retail trade in the region, but the gaps have narrowed considerably over the 2000-19 period. Nonprofit payroll falls behind only manufacturing, and the gap has similarly narrowed.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 63 percent, work in health care, with the rest fairly evenly distributed across social assistance, membership association, education and all other industries. Nonprofits are particularly important in health care and social assistance, accounting for about half of all employees in those fields.

    View the Northwest Indiana report

  • North Central Indiana (EGR 2) Report
    • Nonprofits in this region employed 38,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $1.9 billion, in 2019. This accounts for about 12 percent of all paid employees and 13 percent of the total payroll in the region, but 20 percent of employment and 24 percent of the payroll in St. Joseph's County -- the highest percentages among Indiana's 92 counties.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) grew considerably more than for-profit or government employment during the 2000-09 period but lagged behind for-profits over the 2010-19 period.
    • Nonprofit employment trails only manufacturing in the region, and the gap has narrowed some over the 2000-19 period. Nonprofit payroll trails only manufacturing and outpaces every other major industry.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 43 percent, work in health care. But 34 percent work in education -- a much higher share than for the state as a whole at 13 percent. Nonprofit employees account for more than half of all employees in health care and social assistance. In all cases, nonprofit share of total employment and total payroll is much higher in EGR 2 than Indiana.

    View the North Central Indiana report

  • North East Indiana (EGR 3) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 38,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $1.7 billion in 2019 -- 11 percent of both all paid employees and of the total payroll in the region.
    • By 2019, nonprofit employment trailed only employment in manufacturing, having surpassed employment in retail trade in 2018.
    • Nonprofit payroll trails only manufacturing, and that gap has narrowed over the 2000-19 period.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) have grown considerably more than for-profit or government employment.

    View the North East Indiana report

  • Northwest Central Indiana (EGR 4) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 16,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $709 million, in 2019 -- about 8 percent of all paid employees and 7 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) up 39 and 92 percent, respectively, while for-profit or government employment either declined or grew very slowly.
    • While nonprofit employment trails employment in manufacturing, retail trade, and accommodation and food services in the region, the gaps have narrowed over the 2000-19 period. Nonprofit payroll trails only manufacturing, and that gap has also narrowed.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 58 percent, work in health care, with the rest fairly evenly distributed across social assistance, membership associations and all other industries (including education, and arts, entertainment and recreation). Nonprofit employees account for more than two-fifths of all health care workers and almost two-thirds of social assistance workers.

    View the Northwest Central Indiana report

  • Central Indiana (EGR 5) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 103,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $6.3 billion in 2019 -- 10 percent of all paid employees and 12 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment has grown every year since 2000.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 61%, work in health care, with the rest fairly distributed across membership, education and all other industries, including the smaller social assistance and arts, entertainment and recreation industries.

    View the Central Indiana report

  • East Central Indiana (EGR 6) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 14,000 workers in the region with a total payroll of $636 million in 2019 -- about 12 percent of all paid employees and 14 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) were up respectively 18 and 54 percent, while for-profit or government employment and payroll declined.
    • Nonprofit employment trails employment in manufacturing and retail trade in the region, but the gaps have narrowed considerably over the 2000-19 period. Nonprofit payroll trails only manufacturing, and that gap has also narrowed.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 65 percent, work in health care, with most of the rest distributed across all other industries. Nonprofit employees account for almost half of all health care workers and more than two-thirds of social assistance workers in the region.

    View the East Central Indiana report

  • West Central Indiana (EGR 7) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 9,300 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $422 million in 2019 -- 11 percent of all paid employees and 13 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • In 2019, nonprofit employment ranked third when compared to major for-profit industries in the region. Manufacturing and retail trade ranked first and second, respectively, although they took a significant dip over the 20-year period.

    View the West Central Indiana report

  • South Central Indiana (EGR 8) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 9,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $328 million in 2019 -- 8 percent of all paid employees and 6 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) grew considerably during the 2000-09 period, but decreased some from 2009 to 2019.
    • Nonprofit employees account for about a third (31 percent) of health care workers and almost two-thirds (64 percent) of social assistance workers in the region.
    • Average wages are higher for nonprofit employees than for-profit workers in social assistance, and arts, entertainment, and recreation, roughly equivalent in education, and slightly lower in health care.

    View the South Central Indiana report

  • Southeast Central Indiana (EGR 9) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 8,100 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $309 million in 2019 -- 6 percent of all paid employees and 5 percent of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment has grown in 14 of the 20 years since 2000.
    • Most nonprofit employees work in health care (42%). The distribution of social assistance is significantly different in EGR 9 than Indiana.
    • Average wages are slightly lower for nonprofit employees than for-profit workers, but higher in most nonprofit industries.

    View the Southeast Central Indiana report

  • Southeast Indiana (EGR 10) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 7,400 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $310 million in 2018 -- about 7% of all paid employees and of the total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment trails employment in manufacturing, retail trade, accommodation and food services, and transportation and warehousing in the region, although the gaps have narrowed since 2016.
    • Most nonprofit employees, 54%, work in health care and another 21% in social assistance.
    • Nonprofit employees account for 61% of social assistance workers and more than a quarter, 29%, of health care workers in the region.

    View the Southeast Indiana report

  • Southwest Indiana (EGR 11) Report
    • Nonprofits employed 22,000 workers in the region, with a total payroll of $1 billion in 2019 -- 10 percent of all paid employees and total payroll in the region.
    • Nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) have grown considerably more than the for-profit and government sectors.
    • Nonprofit employment has grown in 15 of the 20 years since 2000.
    • Average wages are higher for nonprofit employees than for-profit workers and in most nonprofit industries. Wages are comparable in arts, entertainment and recreation.

    View the Southwest Indiana report

About Indiana Nonprofits Project

The Indiana Nonprofits Project is a collaborative project designed to provide solid, baseline information about the Indiana nonprofit sector in order to help community leaders develop effective and collaborative solutions to community needs and to inform public policy decisions. The full reports are available on the Indiana Nonprofits Project website. They are co-authored by the director of the project, Kirsten Grønbjerg, professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, and professor of philanthropic studies at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI; and research assistant and IU undergraduate student Anjali Bhatt.

About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy -- voluntary action for the public good -- through its academic, research and international programs, and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women's Philanthropy Institute.

About the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

The O'Neill School is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2021 "Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs" by U.S. News & World Report, the O'Neill School ranks first in the country. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top five, including nonprofit management, ranked first.

Contact

Mary Keck

Phone: 812-856-2148

|

Email: marykeck@iu.edu

James Boyd

O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Phone: 812-855-0156

|

Email: joboyd@indiana.edu

Resources for media