How many people are members of trade associations or professional organizations?

We do not presently have an answer. However, there are a number of possible sources for estimates.

First, several definitional problems:

- Do you include trade unions? (Arguably, the line between the two can be blurry.)

- Double-counting. If one person is a member of two organizations, is this 1 or 2?

I believe Bob Putnam -- author of the bestselling Bowling Alone -- compiled some of these statistics.

You may also be able to go to the source using one of the household/individual surveys that asks individuals about

membership. These are weighted so you can estimate from a sample of 1000+ households the number of people in the U.S.

with memberships.

The General Social Survey and Putnams own Community Benchmark Survey are two that are likely to be fruitful, although

I do not know if they distinguish professional from other types of membership.

Another possible source for an estimate is the National Association of Association Executives.

-- THP, 1/2008

Added 01/02/2008 by tpollak, Modified 04/07/2010 by asblackwood


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