A to Z Index  |  FAQs  |  About BLS  |  Contact Us    

Union membership rate 10.5 percent in 2018, down from 20.1 percent in 1983

January 25, 2019

The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 10.5 percent in 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2017. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, 14.7 million in 2018, was about the same as in 2017. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

Union membership rates of employed wage and salary workers by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 1983–2018 annual averages
Year Total Men Women White, total Black or African American, total Asian, total Hispanic or Latino, total

1983

20.1% 24.7% 14.6% 19.3% 27.2% - 21.1%

1984

18.8 23.0 13.8 18.0 25.9 - 20.3

1985

18.0 22.1 13.2 17.3 24.3 - 18.9

1986

17.5 21.5 12.9 16.8 23.5 - 17.8

1987

17.0 20.9 12.6 16.3 22.6 - 17.1

1988

16.8 20.4 12.6 16.0 22.9 - 16.0

1989

16.4 19.7 12.6 15.7 22.2 - 15.2

1990

16.0 19.1 12.5 15.4 21.0 - 14.4

1991

16.0 19.2 12.5 15.3 21.3 - 15.3

1992

15.7 18.5 12.6 15.0 21.2 - 14.6

1993

15.7 18.2 12.9 15.1 20.8 - 14.8

1994

15.5 17.9 12.9 14.8 20.6 - 14.2

1995

14.9 17.2 12.3 14.2 19.9 - 13.0

1996

14.5 16.9 12.0 14.0 18.9 - 12.9

1997

14.1 16.3 11.6 13.6 17.9 - 11.8

1998

13.9 16.2 11.4 13.5 17.7 - 11.9

1999

13.9 16.1 11.4 13.5 17.2 - 11.9

2000

13.4 15.2 11.4 13.0 17.2 11.5 11.1

2001

13.3 15.0 11.6 13.0 16.7 11.3 11.2

2002

13.3 14.7 11.6 12.8 16.9 11.6 10.6

2003

12.9 14.3 11.4 12.5 16.5 11.4 10.7

2004

12.5 13.8 11.1 12.2 15.1 11.4 10.1

2005

12.5 13.5 11.3 12.2 15.1 11.2 10.4

2006

12.0 13.0 10.9 11.7 14.5 10.4 9.8

2007

12.1 13.0 11.1 11.8 14.3 10.9 9.8

2008

12.4 13.4 11.4 12.2 14.5 10.6 10.6

2009

12.3 13.3 11.3 12.1 13.9 11.4 10.2

2010

11.9 12.6 11.1 11.7 13.4 10.9 10.0

2011

11.8 12.4 11.2 11.6 13.5 10.1 9.7

2012

11.3 12.0 10.5 11.1 13.4 9.6 9.8

2013

11.3 11.9 10.5 11.0 13.6 9.4 9.4

2014

11.1 11.7 10.5 10.8 13.2 10.4 9.2

2015

11.1 11.5 10.6 10.8 13.6 9.8 9.4

2016

10.7 11.2 10.2 10.5 13.0 9.0 8.8

2017

10.7 11.4 10.0 10.6 12.6 8.9 9.3

2018

10.5 11.1 9.9 10.4 12.5 8.4 9.1

Note: Dash means data are not available.

In 2018, the union membership rate continued to be higher for men (11.1 percent) than for women (9.9 percent). The gap between their rates has narrowed considerably since 1983, when the rate for men was 24.7 percent and the rate for women was 14.6 percent.

Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2018 (12.5 percent) than workers who were White (10.4 percent), Asian (8.4 percent), or Hispanic (9.1 percent).

These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see “Union Members — 2018.” The numbers exclude all self-employed workers. People whose ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Union membership rate 10.5 percent in 2018, down from 20.1 percent in 1983 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/union-membership-rate-10-point-5-percent-in-2018-down-from-20-point-1-percent-in-1983.htm (visited November 21, 2019).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics