How many charities are there?

There are about 163,000 charities in the UK, with a total annual turnover of around £40bn.

  • 132,000 in England
  • 7,000 in Wales
  • 19,000 in Scotland
  • 4,000 in Northern Ireland.

(There are also around 20,000 organisations that have charitable status, but aren’t normally thought of as charities in the traditional sense, such as churches or public schools, which we haven’t included in these figures. Read more about this.)

Just like with businesses, there are a smaller number of very big charities, and lots of smaller ones. They each have their different strengths. Around half of all charities have an income of less than £10,000 a year. Over 80% of all charities have an income of less than £100,000.

On average over the last ten years, about 5,000 new charities a year have been registered. But around 5,000 charities a year are also removed from the register as they wind up or merge.

Charities and the economy

Charities form a major part of the economy. Charities in the UK spend over £40bn a year, and employ 827,000 people.

Charities contribute over £12bn a year to the UK economy – the same level as that of the agricultural sector.

According to the latest available data, charities:

  • Had a total annual income of nearly £44bn
  • Spent £42bn
  • Hold assets worth £105bn

Read more about how charities raise and spend money.