Belonging to a union reduces the risk a person will fall into poverty, research by two scholars showed.

The pair analyzed data and unionization rates over four decades and, using several different ways to measure poverty, found that households with at least one union member had an average of poverty rate of 5.9 percent, while non-union households had a rate of 18.9 percent.  

“When policymakers and academics develop plans to address poverty, they rarely, to our knowledge, consider the impact of labor unions,” the scholars wrote in The Conversation. “And yet research across social science disciplines show time and again that labor unions have been central to bolstering the American middle class by raising wages and expanding access to fringe benefits.”

Living in a state where organized labor is strong is also an indicator that a person will not become poor, their research showed.

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