In search of the nonprofit sector: Improving the state of the art

Lester M. Salamon, Sarah Dewees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this article is to assess the data resources currently available to measure the scope and structure of the nonprofit sector and to describe an effort underway to fill some of the existing knowledge gaps. This article discusses a rich but so far underutilized source of data on nonprofit employment: the ES-202 data program managed by State Employment Security Agencies under the supervision of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This article first identifies a set of criteria for evaluating existing data on nonprofit institutions, then applies these criteria to the existing sources of empirical data on these institutions, and finally describes the effort now underway through the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Employment Data Project to produce employment data from the ES-202 system to close some of the gaps that currently exist in our ability to measure the scope and structure of the nonprofit sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1716-1740+1615+1617
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)

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