Co-operative enterprises
build a better world

Co-operative facts & figures

The Co-operative Movement brings together over one billion people around the world. 

The United Nations estimated in 1994 that the livelihood of nearly 3 billion people, or half of the world's population, was made secure by co-operative enterprise. These enterprises continue to play significant economic and social roles in their communities.

Below are some facts about the Movement that demonstrate their relevance and contribution to economic and social development.

Co-operatives create and maintain employment

Presented for the first time at the 2014 Summit of Co-operatives, the study “Co-operatives and Employment: a global report” carried out by CICOPA, the Alliance's sector for industrial and service co-operatives, discusses the significance of co-operative employment globally, both quantitatively and qualitatively. It shows how co-operatives contribute to resilient employment, a sustainable economy and the well-being of people at work, making up almost 12% of the entire employed population of the G20 countries. Co-operative enterprises generate partial or full-time employment involving at least 250 million individuals worldwide, either in or within the scope of co-operatives.

  • In France, 21,000 co-operatives provide over 1 million jobs representing 3.5% of the active working population. Source: Coop FR, Top 100 des Entreprises Coopératives et panorama sectoriel, 2010.

  • In Kenya, 63% of the population derive their livelihoods from co-operatives. Approximately 250,000 Kenyans are employed or gain most of their income from co-operatives. Source: ILO, 2009

  • In Colombia, the co-operative movement provides 137,888 jobs through direct employment and an additional 
559,118 jobs as worker-owners in workers co-operatives - providing 3.65% of all jobs in the country. Source: CONFECOOP.

  • In Indonesia, co-operatives provide jobs to 288,589 individuals. Source: Ministry of Co-operative & SMEs, 
Indonesia, 2004.

  • In the United States, 30,000 co-operatives provide more than 2 million jobs. Source: National Co-operative Business Association.

Co-operatives are significant economic actors in national economies

Presented at the 2014 International Co-operative Summit, the third edition of the World Co-operative Monitor revealed that the turnover of the largest 300 co-operatives has grown by 11.6% to reach 2.2 trillion USD in 2012, equivalent to the GDP of Brazil. The overall turnover of the near 2,000 co-operatives in the 65 countries surveyed by the Monitor totals 2.6 trillion USD (Read the press release).

  • In Denmark, consumer co-operatives in 2007 held 36.4% of consumer retail market. Source: Coop Norden AB Annual Report 2007. 

  • In Japan, the agricultural co-operatives report outputs of USD 90 billion with 91% of all Japanese farmers in membership. In 2007 consumer co-operatives reported a total turnover of USD 34.048 billion with 5.9% of the food market share. Source: Co-op 2007 Facts & Figures, Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union.

  • In Mauritius, in the agricultural sector, co-operators play an important role in the production of sugar, vegetable, fruit and flower, milk, meat and fish. Nearly 50% of sugar-cane planters are grouped in co-operatives. Source: Ministry of Industry, Small & Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives.

  • In Côte d'Ivoire, co-operatives invested USD 26 million into setting up schools, building rural roads and establishing maternal clinics in 2002. Source: International Co-operative Alliance, Briefing for NGOs on the Work of the Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, 2004. 
  • In New Zealand, 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by co-operative enterprise. Co- operatives are responsible for 95% of the dairy market and 95% of the export dairy market. Source: New Zealand Co-operative Association, 2007.

  • In Uruguay, co-operatives are responsible for 3% of the GDP. They produce 90% of the total milk production, 340% of honey and 30% of wheat. 60% of co-operative production is exported to over 40 countries around the world. Source: ACI Americas. Uruguay: movimiento cooperativo en crecimiento.

A large part of the world population are members of co-operatives

  • In Canada, four of every ten Canadians are members of at least one co-operative. In Quebec, approximately 
70% of the population are co-op members, while in Saskatchewan 56% are members. Source: Co-operative 
Secretariat, Government of Canada.

  • In Malaysia, 6.78 million people or 27% of the total population are members of co-operatives. Source: 
Ministry of Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development, Department of Co-operative Development, Malaysia, 
Statistics 31 December 2009.

  • In Norway out of a population of 4.8 million people, 2 million are members of co-operatives. Source: The Co-operative 
Centre of Norway.

  • In Paraguay, 783,000 people or 18% of the population are members of 1,047 co-operatives. These have a 
direct impact on the livlihoods of over 6 million people. Source: Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo, 

  • In Spain, in 2008 15% of the population or 6.7 million people are members of a co-operative. Source: 
CIRIEC, Las grandes cifras de la economía social.

The International Co-operative Alliance 

The International Co-operative Alliance represents close to one billion individual members. These statistics are calculated from the Alliance's member subscription formula. On this basis, the Alliance as the global representative body for co-operatives is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in the world today by the number of people it represents, according to available figures.

  • The country with the largest number of individual members indirectly represented by the Alliance is the United States with 256 million members. There are nearly 30,000 co-operatives in the US.
  • The next countries are in Asia, with India following next behind the US with 93.7 million individual members. And then Japan with 77 million individual members.
  • The fourth largest number of members is in Iran with 36.9 million individual members.
  • All in all, five of the top ten countries, by membership, that the Alliance represents - are in Asia.
  • Italy is the Alliance's first European country with 22.5 million individual co-operative members, represented by the Alliance and through their organisations.