Religious charities generate £16bn of income a year and account for almost half of all human rights and overseas development charities, according to a report from the think tank New Philanthropy Capital.
The report, Faith Matters: Understanding the size, income and focus of faith-based charities, says that, of the £16bn figure, Christian charities account for £11.2bn of the total.
Jewish charities raise about £1bn a year, Muslim charities £542m, Quakers £104m, Hindus £83.2m, Sikhs £61m and Buddhists £48m, the report says, with multi-faith charities bringing in £7.5m a year.
The remaining £3.3bn goes to generally faith-based charities, those that have religious objects but for which NPC could not determine the exact faith involved.
The report, which is based on analysis of Charity Commission data, says that the most common cause for faith-based charities is education and training.
But the cause areas in which the largest proportion of religious charities are involved are overseas aid, in which 49 per cent of all charities are faith-based, and human rights, of which 45 per cent are faith-based.
The report says that the majority of multi-faith charities and Muslim charities are 10 years old or younger.
By contrast, 21 per cent of Quaker charities and 10 per cent of Christian charities are more than 50 years old, the report says.
It says that charities with annual incomes of more than £1m account for approximately 81 per cent of Christian charity income, 45 per cent for Sikh charities, 55 per cent for Hindu charities, 49 per cent for Buddhist charities, 66 per cent for Muslim charities, 85 per cent for Quaker charities and 73 per cent for Jewish charities.
Rachel Wharton, policy and development officer at NPC and one of the report’s authors, said there were some surprises in the data.
"Some causes rely hugely on faith charities: nearly half the voluntary organisations protecting human rights and helping overseas development have religious roots," she said.
"This is essential work that reaches vulnerable people across the globe. Without faith charities, that help would be in much smaller supply."