States Are Struggling to Fund Pensions—Here’s Why

States Are Struggling to Fund Pensions—Here’s Why

Today taxpayers are paying nearly twice as much to fund pensions as they did 10 years ago.

But on average, state pensions are only 71 percent funded – amounting to more than $1 trillion dollars in debt. The bill for this debt has crowded out public spending on schools, roads, and public safety.

How did we get here? Our video explains in less than two minutes.

Learn more about the state pension funding gap.

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Issue Brief

The State Pension Funding Gap: 2018

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Issue Brief

At $1.24 trillion, the 50-state pension funding gap—the difference between a state retirement system’s assets and its liabilities—improved slightly in 2018 primarily due to strong investment performance.

Data Visualization

State Retirement Fiscal Health and Funding Discipline

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Data Visualization

The funding gap between state pension system assets and benefits promised to workers reached $1.4 trillion in 2016. Underfunded public pension systems have become a significant fiscal challenge facing states and municipalities. Although some plans for public workers are well-funded, others failed to set aside enough money to fund the pension promises made to public employees and took on risks that they weren’t able to manage.

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