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FAQs About Benefits—Retirement Issues

The vast majority of private-sector working-age Americans who have benefits obtain them through their jobs. Since 1980, significant changes have occurred in the kind of employment-based retirement plan that workers participate in: Defined benefit (so-called “traditional” pension) plans have declined (reflecting pressures on defined benefit plan sponsors to control costs and funding volatility, in addition to increased regulatory burdens), while defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans have grown.

The “gender gap” in retirement plan coverage has been steadily shrinking since the late 1980s. Also, whether a worker is offered and participates in a retirement plan at work depends greatly on what type of worker the person is: Public-sector workers have the highest level of participation in a retirement plan, while part-time workers typically are not offered a retirement plan or rarely participate when they are. Among all workers, less than half participate in a retirement plan; among full-time, full-year wage and salary workers, more than half participate in a retirement plan.

Retirement Plan Trends: Participation by Plan Type
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Retirement Plan Trends: Active Participants
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Retirement Plan Trends: Number of Retirement Plans
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Retirement Plan Trends: Participation by Workers
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Retirement Plan Trends: Gender Differences
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General Overview of Benefits
Retirement Issues
Health Spending and Insurance Issues
Other Benefit Issues
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