Union membership rates by state in 2016
February 23, 2017
The union membership rate in the United States—the percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 10.7 percent in 2016. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the U.S. average, while 23 states had rates above it.
Nine states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2016, with South Carolina having the lowest rate (1.6 percent). The next lowest rates were in North Carolina (3.0 percent), Arkansas (3.9 percent), and Georgia (3.9 percent). New York (23.6 percent) was the only state with a union membership rate over 20.0 percent in 2016.
State union membership levels depend on both the employment level and the union membership rate. The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.6 million) and New York (1.9 million). Over half of the 14.6 million union members in the U.S. lived in just 7 states (California, 2.6 million; New York, 1.9 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio, 0.6 million each), although these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Union membership rates by state in 2016 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/union-membership-rates-by-state-in-2016.htm (visited October 17, 2019).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
- 25 years of Worker Injury, Illness, and Fatality Case Data
Examines detailed historical data on work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries.
- Occupational employment projections through the perspective of education and training
Examines employment, projected employment growth, and wages for occupations with different education and training requirements.
- Workers in Alternative Employment Arrangements
A look at independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms.
- Labor force characteristics of people with a disability
Examines the labor force characteristics of people with a disability and compares them with the characteristics of people with no disability.