National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Public Safety Plan Dataset


As of 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau identifies nearly 3.3 million employees in public safety occupations employed by state and local governments level nationwide. This figure represents nearly 22 percent of the overall state and local workforce. Over 2.6 million (almost 80 percent) of these workers are employed by local governments, with public safety workers comprising approximately one-fourth of all local government employees. There are around 623,000 workers in state government public safety occupations, a figure equal to over 16 percent of the total number of state workers.

Focusing on fiscal year 2021, this dataset represents 122 pension plans (or public safety subgroups within larger plans) with just over $520 billion in assets and serving over 692,000 active and nearly 639,000 annuitants and DROP participants. This dataset includes plans in every state except Alaska, where newly hired public safety personnel participate in a defined contribution plan. Actuarial funding levels range from 20.9% to 166.5%, with a median funding level of 80.3% and a median investment return assumption of 7.0%.

Date published

May 2023


Keith Brainard, Research Manager
Alex Brown, Research Manager

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