Union Membership and Coverage Database from the CPS


The Union Membership and Coverage Database, available at www.unionstats.com, is an Internet data resource providing private and public sector labor union membership, coverage, and density estimates compiled from the monthly household Current Population Survey (CPS) using BLS methods. Economy-wide estimates are provided beginning in 1973; estimates by state, detailed industry, and detailed occupation begin in 1983; and estimates by metropolitan area begin in 1986. The Database, constructed by Barry Hirsch (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University) and David Macpherson (Department of Economics, Trinity University), was created in 2002 and is updated annually.


To access union data tables, click on links in the left-side index


Use of data from Unionstats.com requires citation.

A description of the Database is provided in the paper below, available in pdf.

Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson, "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 2, January 2003, pp. 349-54 (updated annually at unionstats.com). (pdf)


Union data compilations from the 2018 CPS completed February 4, 2019

Union data compilations from the 2017 CPS completed January 21, 2018


Note: CPS sample sizes (denoted by "Obs") are very small for some cells.  Use such union estimates cautiously.


CPS Documentation Files and Links:


Equivalence/differences in UnionStats.com and BLS estimates of union membership and density


CPS Main Page


CPS State Classifications


CPS Metropolitan Area Classifications (August 2015 to present)  note for 2015

CPS Metropolitan Area Classifications (May 2004 to 2014note for 2014

CPS Metropolitan Area Classifications (September 1995 to April 2004)

CPS Metropolitan Area Classifications (October 1985 to May 1995)


CPS Industry Classifications (2009 to present) minor changes from 2003-08 codes

CPS Industry Classifications (2003-2008)

CPS Industry Classifications (1992-2002)

CPS Industry Classifications (1983-91)


CPS Occupation Classifications (beginning 2011)

CPS Occupation Classifications (2003-2010)

CPS Occupation Classifications (1992-2002)

CPS Occupation Classifications (1983-91)


Summary of 1980/90 Ind/Occ Changes; Program to Create Time-Consistent Ind/Occ Codes


Pareto Estimates of Mean Earnings Above CPS Weekly Earnings Top-Code Caps


Additional Labor Union Databases:

State Union Density in the U.S., 1964-2018  (Hirsch, Macpherson, Vroman, Monthly Labor Review article, union % of total non-agricultural employment)

Data Appendix (Excel file) that accompanies Hirsch article in Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2008

Graphics from Colin Gordon (University of Iowa) using data from UnionStats:

    NEW: "State of the Unions" (2019) in Dissent Magazine. Graphics showing state union densities over time from Unionstats. Very nice!

    Right to Work By the Numbers (2016), includes graphics and discussion of RTW

    Mappings of Union Membership and Density (2013), 3-yr moving averages of national & state data;

    Metropolitan area figures showing employment, union membership, and density (2013)


Labor Union Data from Bloomberg BNA:

           Union Membership and Earnings Data Book, Annual, from Bloomberg BNA, by Hirsch and Macpherson

            Other Union Data and Databases from Bloomberg BNA


Author home pages and e-mail:

Barry Hirsch home page Hirsch e-mail

            David Macpherson home page Macpherson e-mail


2002, 2019 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson.  Use of data requires citation.