State lawmakers play a major role in advancing the quality of Americans’ lives, from helping to protect the air we breathe and water we drink, to educating our children.  By researching emerging topics and developing 50-state comparisons, Pew identifies innovative approaches states are using to help solve complex challenges.  Pew also conducts extensive research and analysis to understand how states can better serve the public, and we work with states to develop data-driven, pragmatic solutions to issues such as children’s dental health, the growing costs of incarceration, the need for cost-effective, high-quality home visiting programs, public pensions, and making voting more accurate, convenient, and secure.

Recent Work

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  • Funded Ratios Increased in Most States in Fiscal Year 2014

    All dollar figures in millions. Parentheses indicate negative value. States attain positive amortization if they contribute more than 100 percent of the amortizationbenchmark. Data in 2014 reflect reporting under new accounting standards. Pension debt represents the net pension liability under the new GASB rules. The value ofplan assets is reported as net plan position. The funded ratio data for... Read More

  • The State Pension Funding Gap: 2014

    The nation’s state-run retirement systems had a $934 billion gap in fiscal year 2014 between the pensionbenefits that governments have promised their workers and the funding available to meet those obligations. Thatrepresents a $35 billion decrease from the shortfall reported for fiscal 2013. The reduction in pension debt wasdriven primarily by strong investment results, with public plans... Read More

  • Low TANF Asset Limits Show No Cost or Caseload Benefits for State Programs

    Aug. 22, 2016, marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, known as welfare reform, which profoundly changed the way low-income families received government assistance. The law replaced the federal Aid to Families With Dependent Children program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which requires that... Read More

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Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life.

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