University of Wisconsin–Madison

Map: Cooperatives in the U.S.

Map based on 2017 data.

Map will be updated with more recent data sets as they become available.

  • Data Description

    The primary source of data for the first project phase comes from the 2015 historical data report on all U.S. business establishments created by the Business Dynamics Research Consortium, a project of UW Extension Division for Business and Entrepreneurship. The file provides North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) codes, and several other establishment-level characteristics, useful for locating and classifying 15.6 million establishments, including non-profits and non-employers. For some sectors, the data contain sales and employment figures. BDRC claims that their files contain the universe of American business establishments for each year, beginning in 1997.

    Cooperative businesses are not identified as such in any U.S. federal data source nor in the BDRC annual files. We therefore relied in the first instance on parsing the names of establishments to pull out those that were self-identifying as co-ops, credit unions, mutual insurance (or other) establishments or institutions, collectives, voluntary associations; in general, member-owned “businesses.”

    We followed up that initial draw of data from the BDRC 2015 file with detailed and extensive investigation of individual establishments, most from information on their own or related websites. This process helped us to refine the initial list and to add establishments that we had not drawn from the data.

    The scope of this research excludes housing cooperatives. Although many hundreds of housing co-ops do seem to be included in BDRC’s annual files, it is very unlikely that most housing co-ops have been captured there. Housing co-ops do not operate in all cases as businesses that would be readily identified as such, and they are not reliably identified by name in most cases. Although it may be possible at some point to add housing co-ops to this continuing census, the amount of ad hoc effort to identify a large proportion of American housing co-ops ruled out their inclusion in this phase of the project

    We are also in the process of integrating sector-specific cooperative lists of firms (not including all establishments) from several authoritative sources into the BDRC files:

    • National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for data about and on the credit union system.
    • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) data. NRECA advocates for the interests of its rural electric cooperative membership, provides educational opportunities for its members, and oversees a cooperative employee benefits plan. NRECA shared data that included member names and addresses, and 2015 figures for sales, revenue, and employment.
    • USDA list of agricultural cooperatives. The USDA annually distributes a survey to agricultural cooperatives to gather and compile statistics on agricultural cooperative activities. USDA shared the list of farmer cooperative names and addresses used for the annual survey effort.
    • National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) list of member names and addresses. NCFC advocates for the policy and business interests of its members, which are regional and national farmer cooperatives. Members are listed on the website.
    • Farm Credit list of network organizations’ names and addresses. The Farm Credit network of wholesale banks and retail lenders are owned by their rural customer borrowers. Locations of network establishments are mapped on its website.
    • National Co-op Grocers list of member names and locations. NCG is a business services cooperative that provides marketing and operational resources for retail food co-ops in the U.S. Its member stores and their branches are listed on its website.
    • The National Cooperative Bank’s NCB 100 list for 2016. NCB reviews audited financial statements that are submitted to NCB from large cooperative businesses. It ranks the cooperatives by revenue and publishes a list of the 100 largest cooperative businesses for that year. Addresses for the cooperatives in the listing were researched on the web.

    We are also integrating data on over 400 startup co-ops that we identified in a nation-wide survey project funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the USDA. A description of survey project is described in the summary project report. We removed the housing co-ops from the results of the AFRI survey for the purposes of this report.

    The BDRC data is compiled at the establishment level. That is, it includes all branch and subsidiary locations in addition to headquarters or “parent” locations. However, the sources of our authority lists all supplied data on “firms” (parent locations only) and the AFRI survey of recent startups is also firm-based.

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