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401K Statistic Sources

  • Purcell, Patrick, “Retirement Plan Participation and Contributions: Trends from 1998 to 2006,” Congressional Research Service, January 30, 2009, Table 4.  This data is for 2006 and comes from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation of 2006.  The data is for private-sector workers age 21 and older participating in a plan at their current main job.  The data includes balances from current and past employment.  Plans included are 401(k), 403(b), profit-sharing, ESOP and money purchase plans. Keogh plans and IRAs are excluded.  The average account balance for all ages is $48,311.  The average account balance for individuals age 55-64 is $70,461.

    Additional Figures: The median account balance in 2007 for individuals with a 401(k) plan was $78,000 according to a recent Issue Brief from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. This figure is for public and private plans and includes IRAs. Munnell, Alicia H., Francesca Golub-Sass, and Dan Muldoon, “An Update on 401(k) Plans: Insights from the 2007 SCF,” Issue Brief 9-5, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, March 2009.
  • Bricker, Jesse, Lisa J. Dettling, Alice Henriques, Joanne W. Hsu, Kevin B.Moore, John Sabelhaus, Jeffrey Thompson, and Richard A.Windle. “Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2013 to 2016: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances.” Federal Reserve Bulletin, September 2017, Table 3.  The figures are for 2013 and include account balances from IRAs and Keogh plans and public and private employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Employer-sponsored plans include 401(k), 403(b) and thrift savings accounts from current and past employment.  The Survey of Consumer Finances uses the term “families,” rather than "households," but since the definition of "families" employed in the survey is comparable to the definition of "households" used in U.S. Census Bureau surveys, the term “households” is used here. 
  • Additional Information: 2016 SCF Chartbook, Median value of retirement accounts for families with holdings, Page 442.
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2017,” March 2017, Private Industry Tables, Table 2.  Also: Civilian Workers, Table 2. The survey distinguishes between access to a retirement plan and participation in the plan. This figure includes full-time and part-time private sector workers with access to an employer sponsored 401(k), 403(b), profit-sharing, ESOP or money purchase plan. Workers are considered participating in a contributory plan, such as a 401(k), if either they or their employer contributed to the plan and they met the service requirement. All workers in noncontributory plans are counted as participating.