This interactive data visualization is a product of the research efforts of Pew’s Public Sector Retirement Systems project.
About the data:
All figures presented are as reported in public documents. The main data sources used for this report were the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) produced by each state and pension plan for fiscal year 2013, actuarial reports and valuations, and other state documents that disclose financial details about public employment retirement systems. Pew collected data for over 230 pension plans. Pew was able to obtain fiscal year 2013 data for all major state pension plans. Because of lags in financial reporting, fiscal year 2013 is the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available for all 50 states.
As each state retirement system uses different key assumptions and methods in the presentation of their financial information, Pew makes no adjustments or changes to any system in the presentation of aggregate state data. Assumptions underlying each state’s funding data include the expected rate of return on investments and estimates of employee life spans, retirement ages, salary growth, marriage rates, retention rates, and other demographic characteristics. States also use one of a number of approved actuarial cost methods and also may smooth gains and losses over time to manage volatility.
Determination of retirement systems for inclusion in data collection:
The pension systems included in this data collection are those listed in the State CAFR in which the state is a sponsor, administrator, employer, or funder. Local pension systems where there is no direct state involvement are not included.
New GASB accounting and reporting guidelines:
In 2012, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) published revised guidance for the financial reports of states, municipalities, and public pension plans. Some states have already begun reporting retirement system information in compliance with these revised accounting and reporting guidelines, ahead of the effective date. As such, information about assets, liabilities, and required contributions for these states cannot be directly compared with previous years. The change with the greatest impact on Pew’s data collection is the end of the ARC as a mandatory disclosure. In their 2014 disclosures many state pension plans will no longer report this number — Oregon is the only state to have left the ARC out of their 2013 disclosures.