Union Membership, Coverage, Density, and Employment
Among All Wage and Salary Workers, 1973-2016
Year Obs Employment Members Covered %Mem %Cov
1973 49,095 75,519.3 18,088.6 -- 24.0 --
1974 48,245 77,101.1 18,176.5 -- 23.6 --
1975 46,488 75,703.9 16,778.3 -- 22.2 --
1976 47,648 78,776.9 17,403.0 -- 22.1 --
1977 57,191 81,334.1 19,335.1 21,534.6 23.8 26.5
1978 57,322 84,967.6 19,548.4 21,897.5 23.0 25.8
1979 58,080 87,116.6 20,986.1 23,540.1 24.1 27.0
1980 68,594 87,479.5 20,095.3 22,493.4 23.0 25.7
1981 15,433 89,518.2 19,123.4 21,434.4 21.4 23.9
1982 -- -- -- -- -- --
1983 173,932 88,289.5 17,717.4 20,532.1 20.1 23.3
1984 177,248 92,194.2 17,339.8 19,931.5 18.8 21.6
1985 180,232 94,520.5 16,996.1 19,358.1 18.0 20.5
1986 179,147 96,902.6 16,975.2 19,277.8 17.5 19.9
1987 180,434 99,302.7 16,913.1 19,051.0 17.0 19.2
1988 173,118 101,407.4 17,001.7 19,241.3 16.8 19.0
1989 176,411 103,479.6 16,960.5 19,197.6 16.4 18.6
1990 185,030 103,904.8 16,739.8 19,057.8 16.1 18.3
1991 179,560 102,786.3 16,568.4 18,733.8 16.1 18.2
1992 176,846 103,688.3 16,390.3 18,540.1 15.8 17.9
1993 174,595 105,067.4 16,598.1 18,646.4 15.8 17.7
1994 170,804 107,987.7 16,740.3 18,842.5 15.5 17.4
1995 170,307 110,038.1 16,359.6 18,346.3 14.9 16.7
1996 152,188 111,959.7 16,269.4 18,158.1 14.5 16.2
1997 154,955 114,533.0 16,109.9 17,923.0 14.1 15.6
1998 156,990 116,729.9 16,211.4 17,918.3 13.9 15.4
1999 159,378 118,963.5 16,476.7 18,182.3 13.9 15.3
2000 161,126 120,785.6 16,258.2 17,944.1 13.5 14.9
2001 171,533 120,707.6 16,288.8 17,878.1 13.5 14.8
2002 184,137 119,979.2 15,978.7 17,501.6 13.3 14.6
2003 180,830 122,357.9 15,776.0 17,448.4 12.9 14.3
2004 177,858 123,553.9 15,471.6 17,087.3 12.5 13.8
2005 179,148 125,889.3 15,685.4 17,223.4 12.5 13.7
2006 178,661 128,237.2 15,359.1 16,860.2 12.0 13.1
2007 177,023 129,767.0 15,670.3 17,243.3 12.1 13.3
2008 174,897 129,377.2 16,097.5 17,760.6 12.4 13.7
2009 169,727 124,489.9 15,327.3 16,903.6 12.3 13.6
2010 167,828 124,073.0 14,715.1 16,289.5 11.9 13.1
2011 166,259 125,210.1 14,754.7 16,281.0 11.8 13.0
2012 166,084 127,603.2 14,349.4 15,905.9 11.2 12.5
2013 165,878 129,136.6 14,515.8 16,016.2 11.2 12.4
2014 167,074 131,452.8 14,569.9 16,142.4 11.1 12.3
2015 165,282 133,770.5 14,786.3 16,432.8 11.1 12.3
2016 165,808 136,131.9 14,549.6 16,264.6 10.7 11.9
             
Data sources: For the years 1973-81 the May Current Population (CPS). For the years
1983-2016 the CPS Outgoing Rotation Group (ORG) Earnings Files. There were no
union questions in the 1982 CPS. Sample includes wage and salary workers, ages
16 and over. Variable definitions are: Obs=CPS sample size; Employment=wage and
salary employment in thousands, Members=employed workers who are union members
in thousands, Covered=workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement in
thousands, %Mem=percent of employed workers who are union members, and
%Cov=percent of employed workers who are covered by a collective bargaining
agreement. The definition of union membership was expanded in 1977 to include
"employee associations similar to a union".
2017 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson. The use of data requires citation.