Welcome to Wikipension

Welcome to Wikipension

Wikipension is a knowledge management resource for and about the community that governs, sponsors, and administers retirement benefits for employees of state and local governments[1] in the U.S., and the firms that provide services to these entities.

A pension is a tax-deferred savings vehicle that allows for the accumulation of assets for later use as retirement income. A pension is paid in regular installments, usually for the remaining life of the person receiving the benefit.[2]

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 90 percent of employees of state and local government have a traditional pension, or defined benefit plan, as their primary retirement benefit.[3] By contrast, less than one-fifth of the working population participates in a DB plan. About three-fourths of private sector employees have access to an employer-sponsored retirement benefit, and approximately two-thirds of those eligible elect to participate. Thus, just over one-half of the private sector workforce participates in an employer-sponsored retirement benefit.[4]

Public pension benefits are administered by some 2,500 different public retirement systems in the U.S. [1] Together, these systems administer defined benefit plans for more than 15 million working and eight million retired public employees, distributing more than $180 billion annually in pension payments. [5]

A relatively small number of systems account for a large percentage of all public pension assets and participants. For example, the largest 75 public retirement systems account for approximately 90 percent of all public pension assets and participants. Most of these are statewide systems. In sharp contrast to the public sector, the prevailing retirement benefit outside the public sector in the U.S. is a defined contribution plan, exemplified by the 401(k) plan, named for the section of the Internal Revenue Code that establishes the plan.

Most Popular

Some of the more popular pages on Wikipension:

  • Studies and Reports A summary page for research reports and publications on issues affecting public pensions. Recently released reports appear at the top of the page, and older reports are sorted by topic and by state.
  • Public Pension Reforms This page catalogs reforms to public employee retirement systems (as reported by NCSL), sorted by topic and by state.
  • Legal A summary page for legal issues affecting public pensions. Issues are sorted by by topic and by state.
  • Investment Return Assumptions A listing of current investment return assumptions used by 126 public pension plans.
  • Hybrid Plans Summary information of and access to detailed information about hybrid plans in use around the country.
  • State-by-state overviews of public retirement elements.
  • Credit Effects Research Reports pertaining to the effects of public pensions on state and municipal finance.
  • Research Resources


  1. ↑ U.S. Census Bureau State and Local Government Retirement System Survey (Local governments include counties, municipalities, school districts, special districts, and other entities authorized by states.)
  2. ↑ The Free Dictionary
  3. ↑ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employee Benefits Survey, State and Local Government
  4. ↑ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employee Benefits Survey, Civilian
  5. ↑ U.S. Census Bureau State and Local Government Retirement System Survey