How Many Registered Charities Are There In The UK

How many charities are there in the UK - non profit and registered charity numbers for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

How Many Registered Charities Are There In The UK?

The figure quoted for the number of charities in the UK is usually about 170k.  That's the number of registered charities with the Charity Commission E&W but the number of charities in the UK is far higher.  No one really knows for sure but the total figure for UK non-profits is about 0.5 million, of which charities represent about 80%.  This resource breaks down UK charity numbers to answer the question of how many charities there are in the UK.

How Many Non Profits in the UK?  Charities & Social Enterprises Numbers

Location/Type Number
England & Wales 360,079
Scotland 45,000
Northern Ireland 7,205
Total UK Charities 412,282
Social Enterprises 76,335
Total UK Non-Profits 488,619

How Many Charities in the UK? Numbers By Type and Country

Location/Type Number Notes/Source
Charity Commission E&W 170.080 Charity Commission registered charity numbers Apr 24, but doesn't include linked charities.
Exempt Charities E&W 80,000 No-one really knows, David Ainsworth Civil Society 2015 article estimate 80k. Includes universities, housing associations, academy schools and museums.
Excepted Charities E&W 9,999 Civil Society article 2015 – well over 10k.  Includes churches, scout and guide groups, with income under £100k pa.
Unregistered charities UK 100,000 NAO Briefing July 2012 – below £5k threshold
Scotland 45,000 Estimated 45k voluntary organisations, half registered as charities, about 30k small community groups: 700 charities of £1+m.  SCVO data source – 24k registered charites
Northern Ireland 7,205
Estimated Total 412,284

How Many Registered Charities in Scotland?

The total number of registered charities in Scotland as at end 2023 was 25,107 but this included 1,246 Cross Border Charities, which are also registered with the Charity Commission E&W.

How Many Charities in Northern Ireland?

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has estimated there are between 11,000 and 16,500 charities currently operating in Northern Ireland, ranging from churches, clubs and drop-in groups to societies and umbrella groups, so registration will be a managed process over coming years.  The total number of registered charities in Northern Ireland was 7,205 in Apr 24.

Charity Numbers In England & Wales by Income Band

Income Band Numbers %
£0 to £10,000 206698 58%
£10,001 to £100,000 94874 27%
£100,001 to £500,000 36849 10%
£500,001 to £5,000,000 15400 4%
£5,000,000 plus 3575 1%
Total 357396

How Many Registered Non Profits in the UK?  Other Non-Profits

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The Statistics Used - Assumptions & Limitations

Here are the main assumptions in the model:

  1. Data is drawn from a range of sources and these may have compiled figures on a differing basis to each other.
  2. Some figures are not up-to-date.
  3. Link charities have been excluded from the totals.
  4. The percentage breakdown by income band of charities, is based on the percentages in the Charity Commission 2018 figures - this assumes that the current breakdown hasn't changed and also the exempt and excepted charity breakdowns follow the same pattern.
  5. CASCs are in addition to the Social Enterprises UK total, because these were not included in the survey.  However, CASC is really a tax status, not legal structure and, it may be, that there is some double counting here.
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