Top 10 Worst-Funded State Pensions: 2015

Pew data shows which states’ public workers are in the worst shape for retirement

These 10 state pension plans are 60% funded or less. These 10 state pension plans are 60% funded or less.

All 50 states have pension systems in place for their workers that were founded on the promise of providing for workers’ retirements. Unfortunately, budget pressures have led lawmakers in many states to delay making required payments to pension funds, leaving employees to wonder about the future.

Pew Charitable Trusts in July released a report looking at where all 50 state pension plans stand. The results can best be categorized as the good, the mediocre and the ugly. Today we are focusing on the ugly. The really ugly.

Using the latest data available, from 2013, Pew ranked the states by the percentage of their pensions that were funded. Only two states were deemed fully funded, while several were at 60% or less.

(See Top 10 Best-Funded State Pensions: 2015.)

Whether the upturn in the markets and new accounting rules designed to allow lawmakers to get a better picture of the financial state of their pension systems will help close the total trillion-dollar shortfall facing state pension funds remains to be seen.

For the worst-funded pensions systems, it will take a lot of fiscal discipline and some luck with investment returns to catch up.

Check out the Top 10 Worst-Funded State Pension Funds for 2015:

Waikiki shoreline in Honolulu.

10. (tie) Hawaii

Liability: $21.2 billion

Unfunded: $8.5 billion

% Funded: 60

Kansas road sign.

10. (tie) Kansas

Liability: $24.3 billion

Unfunded: $9.8 billion

% Funded: 60%

Downtown Grand Rapids.

10. (tie) Michigan

Liability: $81.7 billion

Unfunded: $32.8 billion

% Funded: 60%

Mardi Gras in New Orleans. (Photo: AP)

7. (tie) Louisiana

Liability: $45.4 billion

Unfunded: $19 billion

% Funded: 58%

Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport.

7. (tie) Rhode Island

Liability: $10.7 billion

Unfunded: $4.4 billion

% Funded: 58%

The Corbin Covered Bridge in Newport, New Hampshire. (Photo: AP)

5. New Hampshire

Liability: $10.8 billion

Unfunded: $4.7 billion

% Funded: 57%

Crabbers on the fishing grounds in southeast Alaska. (Photo: AP)

4. Alaska

Liability: $18.8 billion

Unfunded: $9 billion

% Funded: 52%

A statue of the Spirit of Victory in Bushnell Park in Hartford. (Photo: AP)

3. Connecticut

Liability: $49 billion

Unfunded: $25.3 billion

% Funded: 48%

Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Photo: AP)

2. Kentucky

Liability: $42 billion

Unfunded: $23.5 billion

% Funded: 44%

Page 1 of 11
Single page view Reprints Discuss this story
We welcome your thoughts. Please allow time for your contribution to be approved and posted. Thank you.

Most Recent Videos

Video Library ››