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73 percent of civilian workers had access to retirement benefits in 2023

September 29, 2023

In March 2023, 73 percent of civilian workers had access to retirement benefits, with 56 percent of workers participating in these plans. The take-up rate (the percent of workers with access to an employer-sponsored benefit who choose to participate in the benefit) for retirement benefits was 77 percent in March.

Percent of civilian workers with access to and participating in employee benefits by wage group, March 2023

Percent of civilian workers with access to and participating in employee benefits by wage group, March 2023
Wage group Access, retirement benefits Participation, retirement benefits Take-up rate, retirement benefits Access, medical care benefits Participation, medical care benefits Take-up rate, medical care benefits Access, life insurance benefits Participation, life insurance benefits Take-up rate, life insurance benefits

All workers

73 56 77 74 49 66 61 60 98

Lowest 10 percent

38 20 51 30 15 51 17 16 93

Lowest 25 percent

49 28 56 43 23 54 29 28 96

Second 25 percent

73 53 73 76 49 64 61 59 98

Third 25 percent

83 70 83 89 61 69 74 73 99

Highest 25 percent

92 82 89 94 68 72 86 85 99

Highest 10 percent

93 84 90 95 69 72 89 88 99

Less than half (49 percent) of the lowest quartile of workers in terms of wages had access to retirement benefits, while the two middle quartiles had access rates of 73 percent and 83 percent, respectively. Ninety-two percent of workers in the highest quartile had access to retirement benefits, with 84 percent participating (take-up rate of 90 percent).

In March 2023, 74 percent of workers had access to medical care benefits, with 49 percent participating (take-up rate of 66 percent). Forty-three percent of workers in the first quartile of wages had access to medical care benefits. Medical care followed a similar trend to retirement, with 76 percent of workers in the second quartile having access to benefits, 89 percent of workers in the third quartile, and 94 percent of workers in the fourth quartile.

For life insurance, the access rate for each wage category was lower than for retirement and medical care, with 61 percent of all workers having access to life insurance benefits. The participation rate was 60 percent in March 2023, resulting in a take-up rate of 98 percent. The take-up rate was 99 percent for both the third quartile and fourth quartile of wage earners for life insurance.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information, see “Employee Benefits in the United States — March 2023.” We also have more charts on employee benefits. Civilian workers include all employees in private industry and state and local government. Medical care plans provide services or payments for services in a hospital or by a qualified medical care provider.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 73 percent of civilian workers had access to retirement benefits in 2023 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/73-percent-of-civilian-workers-had-access-to-retirement-benefits-in-2023.htm (visited February 27, 2024).