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Report Number G11-ASPP-SL
Erika Becker-Medina

Introduction

This report is part of a continuing series designed to provide information on the structure, function, employment, and finances of the United States’ nearly 90,000 state and local governments. The U.S. Census Bureau produces data quinquennially as part of the Census of Governments (CoG) in years ending in “2” and “7.” Additional statistics are produced annually and quarterly during the intercensal period from data collected from a series of surveys. These surveys provide a wealth of information on state and local government employment and financial activity.

This publication presents data on public pension systems based on information collected from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data. The data collected from these systems are for defined benefit plans only and do not include data for defined contribution plans or other postemployment benefit plans. Data in this report refer to fiscal years that ended between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011 (FY2011).

This survey covers the following retirement system activities: revenues by state (earnings on investments, employee contributions, government contributions); expenditures by state (benefits, withdrawals, other payments); cash and investment holdings by state (governmental securities, corporate stocks and bonds, foreign and international securities, etc.); and membership information by state (number of retirement systems, total members, beneficiaries receiving periodic payments).

For Census Bureau statistical purposes, a public-employee retirement system is one that is financed by a separate accounting fund of the administering government, excluding pay-as-you-go insurance plans. It must have some type of assured revenue stream or dedicated revenue source other than appropriations from the administering government.

A retirement system must have at least one separate identifiable fund within a recognized government unit, and it must be funded completely or partially with public contributions. A retirement system must also be recognized as a government unit (as defined by the Census Bureau) that provides revenues, expenditures, financial assets, and membership information for public-employee retirement systems. Additional criteria exist for membership information, such as funding and organization. A retirement system’s members must consist of current or former public employees who are eligible for inclusion in the employment phase of the CoG.

Each retirement system is considered an agency of the corresponding government, but the information in this publication reflects only the retirement system portion of revenues, expenditures, and assets.

The Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State & Local Data provides revenues, expenditures, financial assets, and membership information for public employee retirement systems. Data are shown for individual retirement systems as well as at the national, state, and local level. There were 3,418 public employee retirement systems in the sampling frame, of which 1,798 systems were selected for the sample. The increase in the number of systems from 2008 to 2010 is due to an increase in coverage of the retirement systems in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas. A sample of these units was added in 2010. The coverage was improved through research and greatly impacted the local retirement systems universe. Any year-to-year comparisons should be exercised with caution.

The 2010 survey covered fiscal years that ended between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 and does not reflect data for the entire calendar year of 2010.

Table 2. Revenues by State & Local Government

Table 3. Expenditures by State & Local Government

Table 4. Cash and Investments by State & Local Government

Table 5. Membership by State & Local Government

Aggregates for the U.S. and by state of local government retirement systems and state retirement systems.

Downloadable Dataset

Detailed financial item data for each state-administered public pension system (fixed length, no delimiter).

Unit ID File

Name of each state-administered public pension system (fixed length, no delimiter)

txt Unit ID File [<1.0 MB]

File Layout

Methodology

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