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The most unionized states

  • The most unionized states
    1/ Orange_Suede_Sofa // Wikicommons

    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.

  • #51. South Carolina
    2/ Khanrak // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #50. North Carolina
    3/ James Willamor // Flickr

    #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)

  • #49. Utah
    4/ Pasteur // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #48. Georgia
    5/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #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)

  • #47. Arizona
    6/ Simeon87 // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #46. Louisiana
    7/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #45. Virginia
    8/ Famartin // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #44. Texas
    9/ Pixabay

    #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)

  • #43. Idaho
    10/ Robbymilo // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #42. North Dakota
    11/ Jerald F Anderson // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #41. Arkansas
    12/ Belinda Hankins Miller // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #40. Mississippi
    13/ Ken Lund // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #39. South Dakota
    14/ Jake DeGroot // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #38. Oklahoma
    15/ Oklahoma CIty Convention and Visitor's Bureau // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #37. Florida
    16/ Milei.vencel // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #36. Tennessee
    17/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #35. Wyoming
    18/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #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)

  • #34. New Mexico
    19/ Asaavedra32 // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #33. Iowa
    20/ Alan Light // Flickr

    #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)

  • #32. Alabama
    21/ Pixabay

    #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)

  • #31. Kansas
    22/ Kzollman // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #30. Nebraska
    23/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #29. Wisconsin
    24/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #28. Missouri
    25/ Brian Hillegas // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #27. Indiana
    26/ Momoneymoproblemz // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #26. Kentucky
    27/ GoodFreePhotos

    #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)

  • #25. Colorado
    28/ Schlendiran // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #24. District of Columbia
    29/ USCaptiol // Flickr

    #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)

  • #23. Delaware
    30/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #22. Maryland
    31/ Mbell1975 // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #21. West Virginia
    32/ Darren Ringer // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #20. Vermont
    33/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #19. New Hampshire
    34/ AlexiusHoratius // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #18. Maine
    35/ Alex Boykov // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #17. Montana
    36/ RCraig09 // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #16. Pennsylvania
    37/ Derek.cashman // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #15. Massachusetts
    38/ GoodFreePhotos

    #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)

  • #14. Ohio
    39/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #13. Nevada
    40/ GoodFreePhotos

    #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)

  • #12. Oregon
    41/ Pixabay

    #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)

  • #11. Illinois
    42/ Daniel Schwen // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #10. Minnesota
    43/ AlexiusHoratius // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #9. California
    44/ Pixabay

    #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)

  • #8. Michigan
    45/ Rachel KRamer // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #7. Rhode Island
    46/ Will Hart // Flickr

    #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)

  • #6. New Jersey
    47/ Public Domain

    #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)

  • #5. Connecticut
    48/ Tony // Flickr

    #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)

  • #4. Alaska
    49/ Pixabay

    #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)

  • #3. Washington
    50/ Oragne_Suede_Sofa // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #2. Hawaii
    51/ Cristo Vlahos // Wikicommons

    #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)

  • #1. New York
    52/ Pixabay

    #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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