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How many American workers participate in workplace retirement plans?

Date Published: 
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Source/Author: 
Pension Rights Center

Annual figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics help paint a picture of the number of Americans who participate in a retirement plan at work.  Typically in any year only half of workers participate in a retirement plan at work.  In 2017 participation by all civilian workers, full and part-time, was 54 percent.   The information below comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey for 2017.

All workers: private-sector, state and local government workers. (135 million full and part-time workers):

Percentage of workers participating in a workplace retirement plan: 54
Percentage of workers participating in a pension plan: 23
Percentage of workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 40
Percentage of all workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 43*       

*(31.1 million workers. Pension Rights Center calculations based on NCS data.)

 

Private-sector workers. (116 million full and part-time workers):

Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a workplace retirement plan: 50
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a pension plan: 15
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 44
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 30*  

*(17.4 million workers. Pension Rights Center calculations based on NCS data.)



State and local government workers. (19 million full and part-time workers):

Percentage of workers participating in a workplace retirement plan: 80
Percentage of workers participating in a pension plan: 74
Percentage of workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 16
Percentage of state and local government workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 92.5*

*(14.3 million workers. Pension Rights Center calculations based on NCS data.)

 

Sources


For data on workers’ access to retirement plans click here.

For data on full and part-time workers click here.

For data on near-retirees, ages 55-64, click here.

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