Public Sector Retirement Systems

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Many state and local retirement plans are on an unsustainable course, having failed to set aside enough money to fund the promises they have made.  To inform state policymaking, Pew provides  research on the fiscal challenges state and cities face as a result of their pension and retiree health promises. With the understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the project also offers technical assistance to states and municipalities as they undertake pension and retiree health care reforms to ensure their public sector retirement systems are affordable and sustainable, provide a secure retirement for workers, and preserve governments' ability to recruit and retain a talented public-sector workforce.

Our Work

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  • State Retiree Health Care Liabilities

    States paid $18.4 billion in 2013 for worker retirement benefits other than pensions, which are known as other post-employment benefits (OPEB). Almost all of this total was spent on retiree health care. The payments covered the cost of current-year benefits and, in some states, included funding to address OPEB liabilities—the cost in today’s dollars of benefits to be paid in... Read More

  • State Retiree Health Plan Spending

    This report, a first-of-its-kind effort, provides data on state OPEB liabilities—the cost in today’s dollars of benefitsto be paid to current workers and retirees over future years—and funding trends and how they are affected byaspects of state retiree health plans. Read More

  • Public Workers Preparing for Retirement

    State and local pension systems have adopted significant reforms in recent years in an effort to become fiscally sustainable. The impact of these reforms on recruitment and retention of a talented workforce remains unclear, and the need to understand workers’ thoughts and attitudes about retirement benefits is growing. In order to meet this need, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the... Read More

Media Contact

Ken Willis

Officer, Communications