Coops are huge

New figures just published show that almost 10% of jobs in the world are either in a cooperative or closely linked to a cooperative. This figure includes employees in consumer coops, worker-owners in worker coops, and self-employed workers in producer coops. Altogether, that is 280 million jobs, and of that number, just over 11 million are jobs in worker coops specifically. While 11 million is a tiny fraction of total global employment, as an absolute number that represents a lot of worker-owners. These new numbers show that in many places in the world worker-ownership is not a fringe economic model, but a common, normal way of doing business.

Some other interesting statistics from the report: 1.2 billion people around the world are members of a cooperative, and all told, there are almost three million cooperatives worldwide. The report further breaks down the numbers by country, and it is fascinating to see how the scale of worker-ownership varies substantially from place to place: there are 6.8 million worker-owners in India; over one million in Italy; 524 thousand in Malaysia; 162 thousand in Iran; 291 thousand in Brazil; 178 thousand in Argentina; 230 thousand in Spain; 27 thousand in France; 94 thousand in the UK; 55 thousand in the US; and four thousand in Canada.

It is worth noting that there are clear limitations to the data in the report. You can see in the section on Africa, for instance, that this continent is very poorly measured, with many gaps in the data, particularly concerning worker-coops. Also, many of the figures cited throughout the report are round numbers, suggesting that they are based on broad estimates rather than on hard data from detailed surveys, but nonetheless, the statistics do give us a fair idea of the scale of the international cooperative sector, and contrary to what some may assume, it is very large. Here are the summary statistics in table form:


Hyung-sik Eum 2017. Cooperatives and Employment, second global report. CICOPA.

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1 Response to Coops are huge

  1. Pingback: Cooperatives in Times of Crisis | The Socialist Entrepreneur

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