Information Center

Income from Pensions


In 2019, pension benefits provided income to nearly one third of older adults. Below are some statistics on the median benefits received by older adults.

Median Pension Benefit

In 2019, one out of three older adults received income from private company or union pension plans, federal, state, or local government pension plans, or Railroad Retirement, military or veterans pensions. The median private pension benefit of individuals age 65 and older was $10,788 a year. The median state or local government pension benefit was $22,662 a year.


Table 10. Median benefit for persons age 65 and older with income from private pensions and annuities, public pensions, and veterans benefits
Type of pension benefit Median benefit, 2019
Private pensions and annuities $10,788
Federal government pension $27,687
State or local government pension $22,662
Railroad pension $17,231
Military pension $21,747
Veterans benefits $12,009

Median Income by Retirement Benefit Type

In 2014, the median income of retiree aged units (with no earnings from work) age 65 and over with pensions and Social Security was more than twice the income of aged units receiving only Social Security.


Table 11. Median annual income of retiree (persons with no earnings) aged units 65 and older, by retirement benefit types
Retirement benefit type Median income, 2014
Social Security only $15,871
Social Security and private pension $36,270
Social Security and a federal pension $38,806
Social Security and Railroad Retirement, state, local government or military pension $37,789


For More Statistics on the Income of Older Adults:


Table 10. Median Pension Benefit for Persons Age 65 and Older, by Type

  • March 2019 Current Population Survey, PINC-08
    Note: The higher amount for public pension benefits than private pension benefits may be attributable to the fact that government employees in some states and in many county and municipal plans are not covered by Social Security so have larger pensions to compensate for this. Also, Federal employees who worked before 1984 and opted to stay under the Civil Service Retirement System are not covered by Social Security.

Table 11. Median Income of Retiree Aged Units, by Retirement Benefit Type

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