Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2007

40 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2008  

Craig Copeland

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Date Written: October 2008


This paper closely examines the level of participation by workers in public- and private-sector employment-based pension or retirement plans, based on the U.S. Census Bureau's March 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS), the most recent data currently available. Among full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 21-64 (those with the strongest connection to the work force), just over 63 percent worked for an employer or union that sponsors a retirement plan, and 55 percent participated in a plan. The paper begins with an overview of retirement plan types and participation in these types of plans. Next, it describes the data used in this study, along with their relative strengths and weaknesses. From these data, results on participation in employment-based retirement plans are analyzed for 2007 across various worker characteristics and those of their employers. The paper then explores retirement plan participation across U.S. geographic regions, including a state-by-state comparison and a comparison of certain consolidated statistical areas (CSAs). In addition to the results for 2007, trends from 1987-2007 in employment-based retirement plan participation are presented across many of the same worker and employer characteristics as used for 2007. The paper concludes with a discussion of this study's findings.

Keywords: Demographics, Employment-based benefits, Pension plan coverage, Pension plan participation

JEL Classification: J33

Suggested Citation

Copeland, Craig, Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2007 (October 2008). EBRI Issue Brief, No. 322, October 2008. Available at SSRN:

Craig Copeland (Contact Author)

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

1100 13th Street, NW
Suite 878
Washington, DC 20005-4204
United States
202-775-6356 (Phone)
202-775-6312 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views