Snapshot of Australian charities

(Australian Associated Press)

Australians gave more than $11 billion to charities in 2015, with those working in the education and health sectors taking the lion’s share of income.

While religious charities were the largest sector in sheer numbers, they took in about a tenth of the annual income of those relating to education and research, the latest Australian Charities Report, released on Wednesday, shows.

Almost $7 out of every $10 earned by charities was in the areas of education and health.

There are about 51,000 charities registered in Australia, with a combined income of $134.5 billion in 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available.

Across charities of all sizes, about half their income came from sources other than donations or government grants.

Governments gave $55.6 billion, with almost half of this going to the 142 largest charities (those with an annual income of more than $100 million).

Fewer than two in five charities had the legal status that means donations to them can be deducted from people’s tax bills each year.

The larger the charity, the more likely it was to have this status.

Across the board, charities grew by an average of two per cent between 2014 and 2015.

But more than two in five had shrinking incomes during that year.

Two-thirds of all charities are based in Australia’s urban centres and they attract three-quarters of the almost three million volunteers.

SNAPSHOT OF AUSTRALIA’S CHARITIES

* About 51,000 charities

* 1.2 million staff and almost 3 million volunteers

* Total income $134.5 billion

* $11.1b from donations

* $55.6b from government grants

* 14,500 (almost three in 10) are religious – income $6.2b

* 9500 (almost two in 10) relate to education and research – income $60.2b

* 38 per cent have deductible gift recipient status

* 142 charities have annual income greater than $100m – took in a combined $59.9b (44 per cent of total)

* Most of the biggest charities are in education (40 per cent) and health (35 per cent) sectors

* 65 per cent are urban-based – with 75 per cent of volunteers and 83 per cent of income

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