About 20 percent of the average association’s operating budget is dedicated to providing education for members, while 17 percent is spent on convention planning and other convention activities, according to Associations Matter: Associations by the Numbers , a new study by the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership.

Education and convention planning represent the largest two line items, ahead of lobbying activities, which account for 13 percent of the average association’s operating budget. The study, which looks at the impact of associations on the economy and society, also found that more than 60 percent of associations plan to devote more resources to education, which of course are often delivered via meetings and conventions.

Nationwide, associations employ about 1 million people—an increase of 100,000 jobs, or 11 percent, from 1997. That’s more than the telecommunications industry, according to the study.

Approximately 190,000 of the 1 million are employed by professional or trade associations. Employment is highest in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., where an association employs one out of 10 workers. Among the largest associations are the American Bureau of Shipping, which employs 1,700 people; the American Medical Association, which employs 1,019; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, which employs 964.

Overall, there are 102,000 member associations in the U.S., up 2 percent from 1997. Chicago alone has 1,733 associations.

Further, the average association yearly salary is $40,250, but it is $58,500 at trade and professional associations. The latter is 38 percent higher than the average private-sector salary in 2006, the study finds. There was no breakout information by job.

Associations bring in $33 billion in revenue nationally and hold $50.6 billion in assets. In 2006, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association generated $258 million, the American Petroleum Institute generated $146 million, the National Association of Homebuilders generated $100 million, and the American Bankers Association generated $87 million.

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