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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  • Public Pensions Investments

    The Pew Charitable Trusts' public sector retirement systems project performs 50-state and major city research on all aspects of public pension systems, including fiscal health, investment practices, benefits design, and governance. State- and locally run retirement systems currently manage trillions of dollars in public pension fund investments. Read More

  • State Pension Funding Gap

    Many state-run retirement systems face significant shortfalls between the pension benefits that governments promised to their workers and the funding available to meet those obligations. Read More

  • The State Pension Funding Gap: 2015

    The gap between the total assets reported by state pension systems across the United States and the benefits promised to workers, now reported as the net pension liability, reached $1.1 trillion in fiscal year 2015, the most recent year for which complete data are available. That represents an increase of $157 billion, or 17 percent, from 2014. Read More

Media Contact

Ken Willis

Officer, Communications

202-540-6933