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How many American workers participate in workplace retirement plans?

Date Published: 
Monday, July 15, 2019
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 2018.

All workers: private-sector, state and local government workers. (137 million full and part-time workers):

Percentage of workers participating in a workplace retirement plan: 55
Percentage of workers participating in a pension plan: 22
Percentage of workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 42
Percentage of all workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 40*       

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

 

Private-sector workers. (118 million full and part-time workers):

Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a workplace retirement plan: 51
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a pension plan: 13
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 47
Percentage of private-sector workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 26*  

*(15.3 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: 83
Percentage of workers participating in a pension plan: 77
Percentage of workers participating in a retirement savings plan: 17
Percentage of state and local government workers participating in a retirement plan who are in a pension plan: 93*

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

 

Sources


For data on workers’ access to retirement plans and take up rates, 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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