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The most unionized states

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    The most unionized states

    Since rising to prominence in the 18th century following the industrial revolution, labor unions have existed with the intent of protecting and advancing the rights of workers. Union membership reached its peak shortly after the midpoint of the 20th century, at which point a little less than a third of the nation’s workforce belonged to a union as a result of advanced collective bargaining efforts in the late-'50s and '60s. Membership has fallen drastically since Ronald Reagan’s ascent to office in 1980 brought with it a fierce assault on labor, which ultimately played a big role in shaping today’s comparatively minuscule 10.7% membership rate — 7% engagement in the private sector and 36% amongst government employees.

    While some critics argue that the presence of unions stifles competition and leaves employers beholden to unreasonable stipulations, others see unions as the only mechanism that can offer workers in more expendable positions the job security they deserve. Since the need for a union varies noticeably from industry to industry, and the prevalence of each respective industry is heavily dependant upon location, it's not surprising that the number of workers in unions fluctuate drastically state to state.

    In analyzing the states in which populations are the most heavily unionized, Stacker referenced a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and ranked each state according to the percentage of their employed population who were members of labor unions in 2017. While the report includes metrics detailing the number of individuals in every state represented by unions, it is important to clarify that Stacker referenced the actual number of union members in every state for the purposes of this story. Read on to discover where each state stacks up in terms of union membership.

    Click here to see how Stacker ranks the most productive states in America.

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    #51. South Carolina

    Employed population: 1,986,000

    Members of unions: 52,000 (2.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 78,000 (3.9% of employed population)

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    #50. North Carolina

    Employed population: 4,305,000

    Members of unions: 145,000 (3.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 171,000 (4% of employed population)

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    #49. Utah

    Employed population: 1,375,000

    Members of unions: 54,000 (3.9% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 74,000 (5.4% of employed population)

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    #48. Georgia

    Employed population: 4,342,000

    Members of unions: 173,000 (4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 217,000 (5% of employed population)

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    #47. Arizona

    Employed population: 2,805,000

    Members of unions: 111,000 (4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 145,000 (5.2% of employed population)

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    #46. Louisiana

    Employed population: 1,780,000

    Members of unions: 78,000 (4.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 96,000 (5.4% of employed population)

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    #45. Virginia

    Employed population: 3,801,000

    Members of unions: 176,000 (4.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 222,000 (5.8% of employed population)

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    #44. Texas

    Employed population: 11,626,000

    Members of unions: 543,000 (4.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 669,000 (5.8% of employed population)

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    #43. Idaho

    Employed population: 723,000

    Members of unions: 35,000 (4.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 42,000 (5.8% of employed population)

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    #42. North Dakota

    Employed population: 356,000

    Members of unions: 18,000 (5.1% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 24,000 (6.8% of employed population)

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    #41. Arkansas

    Employed population: 1,209,000

    Members of unions: 62,000 (5.1% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 74,000 (6.1% of employed population)

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    #40. Mississippi

    Employed population: 1,106,000

    Members of unions: 59,000 (5.3% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 77,000 (7% of employed population)

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    #39. South Dakota

    Employed population: 380,000

    Members of unions: 20,000 (5.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 25,000 (6.7% of employed population)

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    #38. Oklahoma

    Employed population: 1,536,000

    Members of unions: 84,000 (5.5% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 108,000 (7.1% of employed population)

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    #37. Florida

    Employed population: 8,573,000

    Members of unions: 480,000 (5.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 570,000 (6.6% of employed population)

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    #36. Tennessee

    Employed population: 2,728,000

    Members of unions: 155,000 (5.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 176,000 (6.4% of employed population)

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    #35. Wyoming

    Employed population: 243,000

    Members of unions: 15,000 (6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 16,000 (6.7% of employed population)

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    #34. New Mexico

    Employed population: 769,000

    Members of unions: 52,000 (6.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 63,000 (8.3% of employed population)

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    #33. Iowa

    Employed population: 1,475,000

    Members of unions: 104,000 (7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 127,000 (8.6% of employed population)

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    #32. Alabama

    Employed population: 1,869,000

    Members of unions: 138,000 (7.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 152,000 (8.1% of employed population)

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    #31. Kansas

    Employed population: 1,296,000

    Members of unions: 101,000 (7.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 131,000 (10.1% of employed population)

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    #30. Nebraska

    Employed population: 858,000

    Members of unions: 70,000 (8.2% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 78,000 (9.1% of employed population)

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    #29. Wisconsin

    Employed population: 2,778,000

    Members of unions: 230,000 (8.3% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 250,000 (9% of employed population)

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    #28. Missouri

    Employed population: 2,613,000

    Members of unions: 226,000 (8.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 265,000 (10.1% of employed population)

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    #27. Indiana

    Employed population: 2,987,000

    Members of unions: 266,000 (8.9% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 289,000 (9.7% of employed population)

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    #26. Kentucky

    Employed population: 1,810,000

    Members of unions: 174,000 (9.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 232,000 (12.8% of employed population)

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    #25. Colorado

    Employed population: 2,494,000

    Members of unions: 238,000 (9.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 273,000 (11% of employed population)

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    #24. District of Columbia

    Employed population: 347,000

    Members of unions: 34,000 (9.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 40,000 (11.5% of employed population)

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    #23. Delaware

    Employed population: 425,000

    Members of unions: 45,000 (10.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 48,000 (11.2% of employed population)

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    #22. Maryland

    Employed population: 2,772,000

    Members of unions: 299,000 (10.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 326,000 (11.8% of employed population)

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    #21. West Virginia

    Employed population: 683,000

    Members of unions: 75,000 (11% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 82,000 (11.9% of employed population)

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    #20. Vermont

    Employed population: 288,000

    Members of unions: 32,000 (11% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 35,000 (12.1% of employed population)

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    #19. New Hampshire

    Employed population: 642,000

    Members of unions: 72,000 (11.3% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 83,000 (13% of employed population)

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    #18. Maine

    Employed population: 576,000

    Members of unions: 66,000 (11.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 81,000 (14% of employed population)

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    #17. Montana

    Employed population: 419,000

    Members of unions: 50,000 (11.9% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 57,000 (13.6% of employed population)

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    #16. Pennsylvania

    Employed population: 5,543,000

    Members of unions: 665,000 (12% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 723,000 (13% of employed population)

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    #15. Massachusetts

    Employed population: 3,231,000

    Members of unions: 401,000 (12.4% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 431,000 (13.3% of employed population)

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    #14. Ohio

    Employed population: 5,062,000

    Members of unions: 635,000 (12.5% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 688,000 (13.6% of employed population)

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    #13. Nevada

    Employed population: 1,290,000

    Members of unions: 164,000 (12.7% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 189,000 (14.6% of employed population)

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    #12. Oregon

    Employed population: 1,763,000

    Members of unions: 262,000 (14.9% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 277,000 (15.7% of employed population)

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    #11. Illinois

    Employed population: 5,516,000

    Members of unions: 827,000 (15% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 872,000 (15.8% of employed population)

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    #10. Minnesota

    Employed population: 2,693,000

    Members of unions: 411,000 (15.2% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 428,000 (15.9% of employed population)

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    #9. California

    Employed population: 16,064,000

    Members of unions: 2,491,000 (15.5% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 2,708,000 (16.9% of employed population)

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    #8. Michigan

    Employed population: 4,230,000

    Members of unions: 658,000 (15.6% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 711,000 (16.8% of employed population)

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    #7. Rhode Island

    Employed population: 486,000

    Members of unions: 78,000 (16.1% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 84,000 (17.2% of employed population)

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    #6. New Jersey

    Employed population: 3,898,000

    Members of unions: 630,000 (16.2% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 665,000 (17.1% of employed population)

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    #5. Connecticut

    Employed population: 1,645,000

    Members of unions: 278,000 (16.9% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 295,000 (17.9% of employed population)

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    #4. Alaska

    Employed population: 304,000

    Members of unions: 55,000 (18.1% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 59,000 (19.4% of employed population)

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    #3. Washington

    Employed population: 3,112,000

    Members of unions: 584,000 (18.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 630,000 (20.2% of employed population)

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    #2. Hawaii

    Employed population: 605,000

    Members of unions: 129,000 (21.3% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 139,000 (22.9% of employed population)

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    #1. New York

    Employed population: 8,472,000

    Members of unions: 2,017,000 (23.8% of employed population)

    Workers represented by unions: 2,148,000 (25.3% of employed population)

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