How do Local Plans fit into the Public Pension Landscape

This fact sheet presents aggregate statistics on local pension plans. While less than 2 percent of local governments manage their own pension plan, those that do are usually major cities and counties. As such, locally-administered pension plans represent a meaningful segment of the overall public pension landscape, amounting to about 13 percent of all state and local pension assets and membership in the United States.

The data below are based on the Census and, where actuarial data is presented, a sample of 128 large local plans which represents two-thirds of total membership and assets in local plans. Actuarial data for state plans are based on the PPD sample of 109 state-run plans which make up 95 percent of state plans membership and assets.

Membership

Number of Actives per Annuitant, 2001-2015

Fiscal Year State Plans Local Plans
2001 2.5 1.6
2002 2.4 1.7
2003 2.3 1.7
2004 2.2 1.6
2005 1.9 1.5
2006 2.1 1.5
2007 2.0 1.4
2008 2.0 1.4
2009 1.9 1.4
2010 1.8 1.4
2011 1.8 1.3
2012 1.7 1.2
2013 1.6 1.3
2014 1.5 1.2
2015 1.5 1.2

Source: Census of Governments

National data averages are weighted by plan size.

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Costs

Percent of Employer's Annual Required Contribution Paid, 2001-2014

Fiscal Year State Plans Local Plans
2001 100.9 95.2
2002 95.8 89.0
2003 89.0 82.3
2004 86.8 81.8
2005 84.5 98.2
2006 83.8 90.2
2007 86.4 91.4
2008 92.1 94.3
2009 85.7 91.5
2010 79.4 88.3
2011 80.0 87.1
2012 79.4 88.1
2013 80.7 88.1
2014 85.9 88.5

Source: Public Plans Database

National data averages are weighted by plan size.

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Employer's Annual Required Contribution as a Percentage of Payroll, 2001-2014

Fiscal Year State Plans Local Plans
2001 6.1 9.6
2002 6.1 8.9
2003 7.2 11.4
2004 8.9 14.0
2005 10.3 17.2
2006 10.8 18.1
2007 11.3 20.0
2008 11.4 20.9
2009 11.6 21.7
2010 13.0 23.8
2011 14.6 25.4
2012 15.5 27.6
2013 16.7 29.1
2014 16.9 30.2

Note: Many locally administered plans cover local police and fire who generally receive more expensive benefits than other types of employees. However, members of local police and fire plans are also less likely to be covered by social security.

National data averages are weighted by plan size.

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Actuarial Funding

Actuarial Funded Ratio, 2001-2014

Fiscal Year State Plans Local Plans
2001 102.1 102.2
2002 94.9 95.1
2003 89.2 88.7
2004 88.0 84.2
2005 86.0 82.4
2006 86.1 80.5
2007 87.3 81.0
2008 85.2 79.1
2009 78.6 75.8
2010 76.7 69.9
2011 75.2 68.3
2012 73.3 66.4
2013 72.7 66.7
2014 74.1 68.4

Source: Public Plans Database

National data averages are weighted by plan size.

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Cash Flows

Cash Flow as a Percentage of Assets, 2001-2015

Fiscal Year State Plans Local Plans
2001 -1.7 -2.6
2002 -2.1 -2.9
2003 -2.3 -2.9
2004 -1.7 -2.4
2005 -2.1 -1.9
2006 -2.1 -1.8
2007 -1.8 -1.7
2008 -2.0 -1.7
2009 -3.0 -1.9
2010 -3.1 -2.3
2011 -2.9 -1.9
2012 -3.2 -1.7
2013 -3.1 -1.6
2014 -2.7 -1.6
2015 -2.6 -1.5

Source: Census of Governments

National data averages are weighted by plan size.

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