In 2013, the union membership rate—the percentage of wage and salary workers belonging to a union—was 11.3%, the same as in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Jan. 24. That’s about 14.5 million workers.
Union membership has been declining for decades.
In 1983, when the BLS began compiling statistics comparable with the most recent data, the union membership rate was 20.1%, and 17.7 million Americans carried a union card.
Other highlights from the 2013 BLS data:
- Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.3%) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7%).
- Teachers, other educators, police officers and firefighters had the highest unionization rate—35.3% for each group.
- Men had a higher union membership rate (11.9%) than women (10.5%).
- Black workers were more likely to be union members than white, Asian or Hispanic workers.
- New York continues to have the highest union membership rate (24.4%). North Carolina had the lowest rate (3%).