Workers at companies with 1,000 employees or more are most likely to join a retirement plan, a Washington research group reports.[@@]

The Employee Benefit Research Institute, studying 2004 data on wage or salary workers ages 21 to 64, found 59% of workers in firms with 1,000-plus workers participated in traditional pension or defined benefit plans. Among employers with fewer than 10 employees, only 16% belonged to a retirement plan at work.

Other EBRI findings about the most and least likely to join employer retirement plans:

?About 58% of workers aged 55 to 64 participate in a plan, compared to 20% of workers aged 21 to 24.

?70% of workers with a graduate or professional degree, compared to 21% of workers without a high school diploma.

?73% of those earning $50,000 a year or more, compared to 9% of those making less than $5,000.

?49% of men vs. 47% of women.

Examining data by state, EBRI found workers in Minnesota have the highest participation in employment-based plans, with 58%, followed by Connecticut (57.8%) and Iowa (55.9%).

Lowest levels were in Florida (38.7%), Georgia (42.7%) and California (42.8%).