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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017

Contributions to Public Pensions Experience Significant Gains in 2016

Release Number CB17-86

Note: The dollar amount for total pension contributions that public-sector retirees receive for the nation has been corrected and is in bold below. Please disregard the previous version of the news graphic.

"Nationally, public-sector retirees receive $1.48 for every $1.00 of total pension contributions."

MAY 25, 2017 — Employer pension contributions made by state and local governments increased by 6.5 percent or $8.5 billion while earnings on investments dropped by $105.7 billion to $49.9 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newly released report.

“The 2016 Annual Survey of Public Pensions found that total contributions were $191.6 billion in 2016, increasing 6.6 percent from $179.7 billion in 2015. Government contributions accounted for the bulk of them, $140.6 billion in 2016, increasing 6.5 percent from $132.0 billion in 2015, with employee contributions at $51.0 billion in 2016, climbing 7.1 percent from $47.7 billion in 2015,” according to Phillip Vidal, chief, Pension Statistics Branch.

The other component of total revenue — earnings on investments — declined 67.9 percent to $49.9 billion in 2016, from $155.5 billion in 2015. Earnings on investments include both realized and unrealized gains, and therefore reflect market fluctuations.

In 2016, the total number of beneficiaries of state and local government pensions increased

3.3 percent to 10.3 million people, (from 10.0 million in 2015 and 9.9 million people in 2014). The benefits they received rose 5.4 percent to $282.9 billion in 2016, from $268.5 billion in 2015.

Meanwhile, total assets decreased 1.6 percent to $3.7 trillion in 2016, from $3.8 trillion in 2015.

The Annual Survey of Public Pensions provides a comprehensive look at the financial activity of the nation's state and locally-administered defined benefit pension systems, including cash and investment holdings, receipts, payments, pension obligations and membership information. Statistics are available at the national level and for individual states. State and Locally Administered Defined Benefits data will also be released on May 25, 2017.

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Contact


Moniqua Roberts
Public Information Office
301-763-3030
pio@census.gov

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