Forced-Dues States’ Peak-Earning-Year Population Fell by 7.4%
Breadwinners’ ‘Forced-Dues State Exodus’
Between 2007 and 2017, a Net Loss of 3.2 Million ‘Peak Earners’
Union propagandists often grossly understate, or altogether “forget” about, regional cost-of-living differences when they are debating living standards in Right to Work states vs. forced-unionism states.
Downplaying or ignoring this key issue makes it easier to pretend compulsory unionism is not economically disastrous.
But no matter how Big Labor tries to insist that corralling workers into unions somehow makes them richer, there is one unimpeachable fact that union spokesmen have extraordinary difficulty explaining away:
When they have a choice, working-age people prefer not to live in forced-unionism states.
Over Past Decade, Forced-Dues States’ Peak-Earning-Year Population Fell by 7.4%
Considered together, age-grouped state population data for 2017 released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late June and comparable data for 2007 tell an important story.
They show that, over the past decade, the total population of people in their peak-earning years (aged 35-54) for the 22 states that have yet to adopt a Right to Work law barring the termination of employees for refusal to bankroll an unwanted union fell from 43.34 million to 40.19 million.
That represents a decline of roughly 3.2 million, or 7.4%.
Nationwide, the peak-earning-year population fell by 4.3% from 2007 to 2017, but in the 22 states that had Right to Work laws on the books the whole time, there was no overall net decline at all.
And the correlation between forced-unionism status and peak-earning-year population decline is quite robust.
Breadwinners Favor States Where They Can Provide Better For Their Families
Among the 44 states that were either Right to Work or forced-unionism for the whole period from 2007 to 2017, the 10 states experiencing the most severe peak-earning-year losses are all forced-unionism. (See the chart on this page for additional information.)
Fifteen of the 17 bottom-ranking states are non-Right to Work.
Had the decline in the 22 states that still don’t have Right to Work statutes today been only as severe as the national average, they would have had roughly 1.3 million more residents in their peak-earning years as of 2017.
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented:
“The obvious and correct explanation for the Census Bureau data is that breadwinners, along with their families, are fleeing forced-unionism states in droves.
“Working men and women find again and again that they cannot provide as well for their families in such states as they can in Right to Work states, with their generally higher real incomes and lower living costs.”
Mr. Leen pointed to U.S. Commerce Department data, adjusted for regional differences in cost of living with an index calculated by the nonpartisan Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency.
They show that, in 2017, the top- ranking states for disposable income per capita had Right to Work laws.
Cost of Living-Adjusted Income Per Capita More Than $2,200 Higher in Right to Work States
They also show the average cost of living-adjusted disposable income per capita in Right to Work states last year, after weighting for state population differences, was $42,857, more than $2200 higher than the forced-unionism average.
Mr. Leen commented: “Union bosses know full well that large compulsory-unionism states like California and New York are far more expensive than the national average. But they can’t admit it in the context of the Right to Work debate, without torpedoing their economic argument.
“And higher living costs and slow job growth are not the only economic ills pushing breadwinners in forced-unionism states to seek better opportunities in Right to Work states.
“High and rising state and local tax burdens are also endemic to forced-unionism states. Recently, the editors of the Chicago Tribune have highlighted how excessive taxes are driving breadwinners out of the Prairie State in a series they call ‘The Illinois Exodus.’
“In reality, the outmigration ably documented by the Tribune isn’t just an Illinois problem. It may aptly be labeled as ‘the forced-dues state exodus.’”