Fortifying Main Street: The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Small Towns and Rural America

Link: https://www.nirsonline.org/reports/mainstreet2022/

PDF: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/FINAL-compresses-fortifyingmainstreet2022_small-compressed.pdf

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The report’s key findings are as follows:

  • Public pension benefit dollars represent between one and three percent of GDP on average in the 2,922 counties studied.
  • Rural counties have the highest percentages of their populations receiving public pension benefits.
  • Small town counties experience a greater relative impact in terms of both GDP and total personal income from pension benefit dollars than rural or metropolitan counties.
  • Rural counties see more of an impact in terms of personal income than metropolitan counties, while metropolitan counties and rural counties see an equivalent impact in terms of GDP.
  • Counties that contain state capitals are outliers from other metropolitan counties, likely because there is a greater density of public employees in these counties, most of whom remain in these counties in retirement.
  • On average, rural counties have lost population while small town counties and metropolitan counties have gained population in the period between 2000 and 2018, but the connection between population change and the relative impact of public pension benefit dollars is weak.

Author(s): Dan Doonan and Tyler Bond from NIRS, Nathan Chobo from Linea Solutions Inc.

Publication Date: July 2022

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security

Stark Inequality: Financial Asset Inequality Undermines Retirement Security

Link to full report: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Stark-Inequality-F2.pdf

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Inequality in the ownership of financial assets both persists and deepens over time. The top five percent of Baby Boomers by net worth owned a greater percentage of that generation’s financial assets in 2019 (58 percent) than in 2004 (52 percent).

Inequality in the ownership of financial assets is consistent across generations. In 2019, the top 25 percent by net worth of Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers owned three-quarters or more of their generation’s financial assets.

Financial asset ownership is highly concentrated among white households. In 2019, white households in all three generations owned three-quarters or more of their generation’s financial assets. Ownership is especially concentrated among white households in the top 25 percent of net worth.

Both mean and median financial assets were significantly higher for white households in 2019 than Black or Hispanic households.

A range of potential solutions exists to address this stark inequality including strengthening and expanding Social Security, protecting pensions, increasing access to savings-based plans for low-income workers, and reforming retirement tax incentives.

Author(s): Tyler Bond

Publication Date: September 2021

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security

Retirement Insecurity 2021 | Americans’ Views of Retirement

Press Release: https://www.nirsonline.org/2021/02/amid-political-division-americans-united-in-retirement-worry/

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Webinar slides: https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/FINAL-Public-Opinion-Webinar-Slides-Feb-25-2021.pdf

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This new national survey of working-age Americans also reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated worries about achieving financial security in retirement.

More than half of Americans (51 percent) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased concerns about achieving financial security in retirement. And the COVID-19 concern is high across party lines: 57 percent among Democrats; 50 percent for Independents; and at 44 percent for Republicans.

Author(s): Dan Doonan, Kelly Kenneally, Tyler Bond

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: National Institute on Retirement Security