Graph depicting Union Membership and Median income
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Sources: University of Georgia   Census   National Conference of State Legislators

Data: Excel

Last updated: April 3, 2015


Union Membership and Median income

Description: This graph shows how union membership correlates to median household income. The horizontal axis shows the percentage of each state's workforce that is a member in a union and the vertical axis shows the median household income in that state. The orange markers represent "right to work" states which do not permit unions to charge mandatory dues and the green markers represent states that permit employees to vote to unionize with mandatory dues. The blue line represents the average relationship between median income and union membership.

Discussion: The population-weighted average median household income in a "right to work" state earns $49,414 per year and the average median household in a state that permits workers to vote to unionize and establish mandatory dues is $56,266. That means that the average household will earn $6,852 more in a union state.

The divide is consistent. Only 12% of the states with median incomes over $56k are "right to work" states while 71% of states with median incomes under $50k are.

Notably, this graph is comparing median incomes. It is likely that the median worker in many of these states is not a member of a union, as no more than 1/4 of the population of any state is made up of union members. Therefore, a significant union presence appears to drive up wages for non-union members as well.

You can also see how standard of living differs depending on the strength of unions in a state here.

See more graphs about: Income   Unions  

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