Unions Continue To Build Wealth for All Americans

New data show unions increase wealth across education levels and close racial wealth gaps.

New data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) highlight how important unions continue to be for increasing Americans’ wealth—the total value of what people own minus the value of all their debts. The data show that the median union household has significantly more wealth than the median nonunion household, and these large wealth differences hold across various demographic groups, including race and ethnicity as well as education levels.

The newly released data covering assets in 2022 demonstrate that:

  • Union households possess 1.7 times the median wealth of nonunion households.
  • Union membership narrows the racial wealth gap, closing the distance between the wealth of white households and that of Black, Hispanic, and members of the “other or multiple race” category. Membership in a union increases median wealth between 167 percent and 228 percent for households of color compared with a 37 percent increase in median wealth for white households.
  • The median wealth of union households is greater than that of nonunion households across every education level. Union contracts provide the largest percentage increase in median wealth for households without a high school degree compared with all other levels of educational attainment.
  • Union membership closes the wealth gap between working-class and college-educated households. The median wealth of nonunion working-class households is 21 percent of the wealth of college-educated nonunion households, whereas the median wealth of union working-class households is 49 percent of that of college-educated union households.
  • Union households are more likely to own a home and have a retirement plan compared with nonunion households.

The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress. Click here to view the full article.

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David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project

Christian E. Weller

Senior Fellow

Sachin Shiva

Research Assistant


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