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Celebrate cooperatives by knowing the facts

October 31, 2011

From eggs and milk to the electricity that powers your home, cooperatives play a big role in your everyday life. And next year, everyone in the U.S. will get to know co-ops a little better.

In July, 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.


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