How Reliant Are Older Americans on State and Local Government Pensions?

Published: 2019
Project ID: UM19-07


State and local government pension plans cover about 19.5 million participants, and many participants are heavily reliant on these pensions for retirement income. Yet, most plans are underfunded. This proposed research will quantify how many Americans are entitled to these pensions and how important these pensions are for their retirement finances. We will compare economic preparation for retirement among currently retired and near-retirement households with state and local pensions, and examine how economic preparation would be affected if these pension benefits were cut. These findings will provide insight as to how many households are dependent on these government pensions, as well as the potential effects of reductions in state and local pension benefits on the Social Security system.