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Hawaii and New York had highest union membership rates, the Carolinas the lowest, in 2018

February 22, 2019

In 2018, 29 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below the U.S. average of 10.5 percent. Twenty states had rates above the U.S. average, and one state had the same rate. Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2018: Hawaii (23.1 percent) and New York (22.3 percent). North Carolina and South Carolina had the lowest rates (2.7 percent each).

Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers by state, 2018 annual averages
State Union membership rate Employed union members Total employed wage and salary workers

Hawaii

23.1% 139,000 601,000

New York

22.3 1,872,000 8,404,000

Washington

19.8 649,000 3,270,000

Alaska

18.5 55,000 299,000

Rhode Island

17.4 83,000 479,000

Connecticut

16.0 268,000 1,677,000

Minnesota

15.0 395,000 2,634,000

New Jersey

14.9 587,000 3,935,000

California

14.7 2,405,000 16,399,000

Michigan

14.5 625,000 4,320,000

Nevada

13.9 191,000 1,376,000

Oregon

13.9 242,000 1,738,000

Illinois

13.8 786,000 5,694,000

Massachusetts

13.7 464,000 3,397,000

Maine

12.9 74,000 573,000

Ohio

12.6 639,000 5,054,000

Pennsylvania

12.6 701,000 5,575,000

Montana

11.8 50,000 427,000

Colorado

11.0 281,000 2,564,000

Maryland

11.0 307,000 2,784,000

Vermont

10.5 31,000 291,000

Delaware

10.3 45,000 434,000

New Hampshire

10.2 68,000 664,000

West Virginia

10.0 68,000 684,000

District of Columbia

9.9 35,000 354,000

Missouri

9.4 251,000 2,675,000

Alabama

9.2 180,000 1,950,000

Kentucky

8.9 161,000 1,812,000

Indiana

8.8 269,000 3,049,000

Wisconsin

8.1 219,000 2,700,000

Iowa

7.7 113,000 1,461,000

Kansas

7.0 90,000 1,283,000

New Mexico

6.8 56,000 812,000

Nebraska

6.6 59,000 882,000

Wyoming

6.5 15,000 235,000

Oklahoma

5.7 90,000 1,583,000

Florida

5.6 484,000 8,702,000

South Dakota

5.6 22,000 387,000

Tennessee

5.5 155,000 2,816,000

Arizona

5.3 156,000 2,943,000

North Dakota

5.2 18,000 343,000

Mississippi

5.1 58,000 1,121,000

Louisiana

5.0 89,000 1,785,000

Arkansas

4.8 56,000 1,176,000

Idaho

4.7 34,000 733,000

Georgia

4.5 201,000 4,466,000

Texas

4.3 512,000 11,989,000

Virginia

4.3 168,000 3,875,000

Utah

4.1 56,000 1,343,000

North Carolina

2.7 118,000 4,331,000

South Carolina

2.7 55,000 2,016,000

Eight states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2018. After the Carolinas, the next lowest rates were in Utah (4.1 percent) and Texas and Virginia (4.3 percent each).

The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.4 million) and New York (1.9 million). Over half of the 14.7 million union members in the United States lived in just seven states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 1.9 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, Ohio, and Washington, 0.6 million each). These states accounted for only about one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see "Union Members — 2018." The union membership rate is the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions. The numbers exclude all self-employed workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Hawaii and New York had highest union membership rates, the Carolinas the lowest, in 2018 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/hawaii-and-new-york-had-highest-union-membership-rates-the-carolinas-the-lowest-in-2018.htm (visited October 21, 2019).

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