Mark J. Warshawsky, Manager of Pension and Economic Research, and John Ameriks, Research Associate, TIAA-CREF
December 1996 | Issue # 49
This issue examines the availability of, and participation in, pension and health benefit plans in the United States. Research based on the Census Bureau's April 1993 Current Population Survey indicates that pensions are available to almost 95 percent of workers in higher education, compared with about 72 percent of workers in other industries. Also, higher education institutions have more availability of health benefit plans (about 98 percent) than companies and organizations in all other industries (about 86 percent). The main analytical question is whether the high rate of pension participation among full-time workers in higher education is somehow unique among industries or can be explained by worker characteristic and employer factors. The findings are that higher earnings, greater education, more years of service, and union membership all tend to increase the likelihood that a given worker is participating in a pension at his or her place of work.