Pension and Retiree Health Care Funding

Many states continue to face shortfalls between assets and liabilities

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.

Some pension plans for state and local workers are well-funded, but unless changes are made in a number of other states, retirees, workers, and taxpayers will have to contend with rising costs and potentially unpaid promises for years to come.

Cavan Images RF Getty Images
Cavan Images RF Getty Images
Issue Brief

Retirement Plans Need to Navigate Volatile Markets

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Issue Brief

Over the past decade, policy reforms and increased financial contributions have dramatically improved the cash flow situation of some of the nation’s most troubled state pension plans. Thanks to these changes, which include reforms to benefit designs, a commitment to fiscal discipline, and greater monitoring of the financial health of public retirement systems, no state is at risk of pension plan insolvency. Nevertheless, many states still have more to do to ensure the long-term sustainability of pension promises.

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Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.