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Most unionized states

  • Most unionized states
    1/ Orange_Suede_Sofa // Wikimedia Commons

    Most unionized states

    Since rising to prominence in the 18th century in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, labor unions have existed with the intent of protecting and advancing the rights of workers. Union membership reached its peak around the mid-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% among 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 dependent 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 looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (last updated Jan. 18, 2019) and ranked each state according to the average percentage of its employed wage and salary earners who were members of labor unions in 2017 and 2018. 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.


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  • #51. South Carolina
    2/ Khanrak // Wikimedia Commons

    #51. South Carolina

    - Employed population: 2,016,000
    - Members of unions: 55,000 (2.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 72,000 (3.6% of employed population)

     

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

    #50. North Carolina

    - Employed population: 4,331,000
    - Members of unions: 118,000 (2.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 174,000 (4.0% of employed population)

     

  • #49. Utah
    4/ Pasteur // Wikimedia Commons

    #49. Utah

    - Employed population: 1,343,000
    - Members of unions: 56,000 (4.1% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 76,000 (5.7% of employed population)

     

  • #48. Texas
    5/ Ryan Conine // Shutterstock

    #48. Texas

    - Employed population: 11,989,000
    - Members of unions: 512,000 (4.3% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 653,000 (5.4% of employed population)

  • #47. Virginia
    6/ Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

    #47. Virginia

    - Employed population: 3,875,000
    - Members of unions: 168,000 (4.3% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 213,000 (5.5% of employed population)

     

  • #46. Georgia
    7/ Brett Barnhill // Shutterstock

    #46. Georgia

    - Employed population: 4,466,000
    - Members of unions: 201,000 (4.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 249,000 (5.6% of employed population)

     

  • #45. Idaho
    8/ Robbymilo // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. Idaho

    - Employed population: 733,000
    - Members of unions: 34,000 (4.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 41,000 (5.6% of employed population)
     

  • #44. Arkansas
    9/ W. Scott McGill // Shutterstock

    #44. Arkansas

    - Employed population: 1,176,000
    - Members of unions: 56,000 (4.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 62,000 (5.3% of employed population)

     

  • #43. Louisiana
    10/ Public Domain

    #43. Louisiana

    - Employed population: 1,785,000
    - Members of unions: 89,000 (5.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 104,000 (5.8% of employed population)

     

  • #42. Mississippi
    11/ Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. Mississippi

    - Employed population: 1,121,000
    - Members of unions: 58,000 (5.1% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 80,000 (7.1% of employed population)

     

  • #41. North Dakota
    12/ Guy RD // Shutterstock

    #41. North Dakota

    - Employed population: 343,000
    - Members of unions: 18,000 (5.2% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 23,000 (6.7% of employed population)

     

  • #40. Arizona
    13/ Andrew Zarivny // Shutterstock

    #40. Arizona

    - Employed population: 2,943,000
    - Members of unions: 156,000 (5.3% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 191,000 (6.5% of employed population)

     

  • #39. Tennessee
    14/ Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

    #39. Tennessee

    - Employed population: 2,816,000
    - Members of unions: 155,000 (5.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 179,000 (6.4% of employed population)

  • #38. Florida
    15/ Jillian Cain Photography // Shutterstock

    #38. Florida

    - Employed population: 8,702,000
    - Members of unions: 484,000 (5.6% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 588,000 (6.8% of employed population)

     

  • #37. South Dakota
    16/ Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

    #37. South Dakota

    - Employed population: 387,000
    - Members of unions: 22,000 (5.6% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 28,000 (7.1% of employed population)

     

  • #36. Oklahoma
    17/ Oklahoma CIty Convention and Visitor's Bureau // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. Oklahoma

    - Employed population: 1,583,000
    - Members of unions: 90,000 (5.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 117,000 (7.4% of employed population)

     

  • #35. Wyoming
    18/ J. Norman Reid // Shutterstock

    #35. Wyoming

    - Employed population: 235,000
    - Members of unions: 15,000 (6.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 18,000 (7.7% of employed population)

     

  • #34. Nebraska
    19/ Public Domain

    #34. Nebraska

    - Employed population: 882,000
    - Members of unions: 59,000 (6.6% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 71,000 (8.0% of employed population)

     

  • #33. New Mexico
    20/ Asaavedra32 // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. New Mexico

    - Employed population: 812,000
    - Members of unions: 56,000 (6.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 67,000 (8.2% of employed population)

     

  • #32. Kansas
    21/ Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

    #32. Kansas

    - Employed population: 1,283,000
    - Members of unions: 90,000 (7.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 129,000 (10.1% of employed population)

     

  • #31. Iowa
    22/ Alan Light // Flickr

    #31. Iowa

    - Employed population: 1,461,000
    - Members of unions: 113,000 (7.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 129,000 (8.8% of employed population)

     

  • #30. Wisconsin
    23/ Public Domain

    #30. Wisconsin

    - Employed population: 2,700,000
    - Members of unions: 219,000 (8.1% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 233,000 (8.6% of employed population)

     

  • #29. Indiana
    24/ Momoneymoproblemz // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Indiana

    - Employed population: 3,049,000
    - Members of unions: 269,000 (8.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 283,000 (9.3% of employed population)

     

  • #28. Kentucky
    25/ Thomas Kelley // Shutterstock

    #28. Kentucky

    - Employed population: 1,812,000
    - Members of unions: 161,000 (8.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 207,000 (11.4% of employed population)

     

  • #27. Alabama
    26/ BJ Ray // Shutterstock

    #27. Alabama

    - Employed population: 1,950,000
    - Members of unions: 180,000 (9.2% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 196,000 (10.1% of employed population)

  • #26. Missouri
    27/ Brian Hillegas // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Missouri

    - Employed population: 2,675,000
    - Members of unions: 251,000 (9.4% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 283,000 (10.6% of employed population)

     

  • #25. District of Columbia
    28/ USCaptiol // Flickr

    #25. District of Columbia

    - Employed population: 354,000
    - Members of unions: 35,000 (9.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 41,000 (11.6% of employed population)

     

  • #24. West Virginia
    29/ Darren Ringer // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. West Virginia

    - Employed population: 684,000
    - Members of unions: 68,000 (10.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 74,000 (10.8% of employed population)

     

  • #23. New Hampshire
    30/ AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. New Hampshire

    - Employed population: 664,000
    - Members of unions: 68,000 (10.2% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 77,000 (11.6% of employed population)

     

  • #22. Delaware
    31/ Public Domain

    #22. Delaware

    - Employed population: 434,000
    - Members of unions: 45,000 (10.3% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 47,000 (10.8% of employed population)

  • #21. Vermont
    32/ Public Domain

    #21. Vermont

    - Employed population: 291,000
    - Members of unions: 31,000 (10.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 34,000 (11.6% of employed population)

     

  • #20. Colorado
    33/ Schlendiran // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Colorado

    - Employed population: 2,564,000
    - Members of unions: 281,000 (11.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 307,000 (12.0% of employed population)

     

  • #19. Maryland
    34/ Mbell1975 // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. Maryland

    - Employed population: 2,784,000
    - Members of unions: 307,000 (11.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 336,000 (12.1% of employed population)

     

  • #18. Montana
    35/ Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

    #18. Montana

    - Employed population: 427,000
    - Members of unions: 50,000 (11.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 60,000 (14.0% of employed population)

     

  • #17. Pennsylvania
    36/ Derek.cashman // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Pennsylvania

    - Employed population: 5,575,000
    - Members of unions: 701,000 (12.6% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 748,000 (13.4% of employed population)

     

  • #16. Ohio
    37/ Public Domain

    #16. Ohio

    - Employed population: 5,054,000
    - Members of unions: 639,000 (12.6% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 722,000 (14.3% of employed population)

     

  • #15. Maine
    38/ Christopher Boswell // Shutterstock

    #15. Maine

    - Employed population: 573,000
    - Members of unions: 74,000 (12.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 85,000 (14.8% of employed population)

     

  • #14. Massachusetts
    39/ GoodFreePhotos

    #14. Massachusetts

    - Employed population: 3,397,000
    - Members of unions: 464,000 (13.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 493,000 (14.5% of employed population)

     

  • #13. Illinois
    40/ Daniel Schwen // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Illinois

    - Employed population: 5,694,000
    - Members of unions: 786,000 (13.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 839,000 (14.7% of employed population)

     

  • #12. Oregon
    41/ Pixabay

    #12. Oregon

    - Employed population: 1,738,000
    - Members of unions: 242,000 (13.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 256,000 (14.7% of employed population)

     

  • #11. Nevada
    42/ littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

    #11. Nevada

    - Employed population: 1,376,000
    - Members of unions: 191,000 (13.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 216,000 (15.7% of employed population)

     

  • #10. Michigan
    43/ Rachel KRamer // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Michigan

    - Employed population: 4,320,000
    - Members of unions: 625,000 (14.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 663,000 (15.4% of employed population)

     

  • #9. California
    44/ Pixabay

    #9. California

    - Employed population: 16,399,000
    - Members of unions: 2,405,000 (14.7% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 2,587,000 (15.8% of employed population)

     

  • #8. New Jersey
    45/ Public Domain

    #8. New Jersey

    - Employed population: 3,935,000
    - Members of unions: 587,000 (14.9% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 639,000 (16.2% of employed population)

     

  • #7. Minnesota
    46/ photo.ua // Shutterstock

    #7. Minnesota

    - Employed population: 2,634,000
    - Members of unions: 395,000 (15.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 421,000 (16.0% of employed population)

     

  • #6. Connecticut
    47/ Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

    #6. Connecticut

    - Employed population: 1,677,000
    - Members of unions: 268,000 (16.0% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 280,000 (16.7% of employed population)

     

  • #5. Rhode Island
    48/ Will Hart // Flickr

    #5. Rhode Island

    - Employed population: 479,000
    - Members of unions: 83,000 (17.4% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 89,000 (18.5% of employed population)

     

  • #4. Alaska
    49/ Pixabay

    #4. Alaska

    - Employed population: 299,000
    - Members of unions: 55,000 (18.5% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 60,000 (20.0% of employed population)

     

  • #3. Washington
    50/ Oragne_Suede_Sofa // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Washington

    - Employed population: 3,270,000
    - Members of unions: 649,000 (19.8% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 671,000 (20.5% of employed population)

     

  • #2. New York
    51/ Pixabay

    #2. New York

    - Employed population: 8,404,000
    - Members of unions: 1,872,000 (22.3% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 2,027,000 (24.1% of employed population)

     

  • #1. Hawaii
    52/ MNStudio // Shutterstock

    #1. Hawaii

    - Employed population: 601,000
    - Members of unions: 139,000 (23.1% of employed population)
    - Workers represented by unions: 146,000 (24.3% of employed population)

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