From eggs and milk to the electricity that powers your home, cooperatives play a big role in your everyday life. And this year, everyone in the U.S. will get to know co-ops a little better.
In July 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. The measure — building off similar action by the United Nations General Assembly — recognizes the vital role cooperatives play in the economic and social well-being of the United States.
Following are some fun facts about co-ops.
The nation’s 900-plus electric co-ops:
– Serve about 42 million people in 47 states — that’s 18 million businesses, homes, schools, churches, farms, irrigation systems, and other establishments in 2,500 of 3,141 counties
– Employ 70,000
– Retire more than $500 million in capital credits annually
– Own assets worth $130 billion
– Own and maintain 2.5 million miles, or 42 percent, of the nation’s electric distribution lines, covering three-quarters of the nation’s land mass
Around the world, co-ops:
– Boast nearly 1 billion members in more than 90 countries.
– Account for 80 percent to 99 percent of milk production in New Zealand, Norway, and the United States
– Generate 100 million jobs
– Close to half of all residents of Finland and Singapore are co-op members; 33 percent in Canada, Honduras, New Zealand, and Norway, and 25 percent in Germany, Malaysia, and the United States
– Under the umbrella of the World Council of Credit Unions, 49,000 credit unions serve 177 million members in 96 countries
To learn more about cooperatives, visit www.go.coop.