Economic Impact

Associations by the Numbers: An Overview
Power of Associations 2015
An Objective Snapshot of the U.S. Association Community



  • The IRS recognized 66,985 trade and professional associations in 2013.
  • The IRS recognized 1,052,495 charitable and philanthropic organizations in 2013.
  • During the 2013 fiscal year, there were 1,524 new applications for 501(c)(6) status and 45,289 applications for 501(c)(3) status filed with the IRS. The vast majority of these applications were approved.

Source: IRS Data Book


  • Membership organizations (includes religious organizations, grantmaking and giving services, social advocacy organizations, civic and social organizations, and trade and professional associations) employed more than 1.3 million in 2013.
  • States with the highest membership organization employment in 2013 were California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida.
  • If it were a state, the Washington, DC metropolitan area would rank third behind California and New York in total membership organization employment (89,158 employees).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)


  • Membership organizations generated a payroll of nearly $51 billion in 2013.
  • The average annual wages for employees of business associations and professional societies combined was $73,490.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)

 Revenue and Assets

  • Trade and professional associations generated $142 billion in revenue in 2013, up 13.8 percent over the last five years ($112 billion in 2008).
  • California, Washington, DC, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas lead in association revenue.
  • Associations hold an estimated $306 billion in assets. Massachusetts-based associations hold the most assets (nearly $82 billion), followed by California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Source: IRS Business Master File, ASAE Foundation Association 990 Database

Other Benefits

  • Nearly 63 million Americans volunteered through a membership organization in 2013. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.
  • Associations represent a major piece of the meetings and conventions industry in the United States. The meetings industry supports nearly 1.8 million jobs and accounts for $280 billion in direct spending by attendees.
  • 57 million adults in America take formal work-related courses or training each year, and more than 69 percent of those individuals receive those training programs from either a private business or a professional association.