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Friday, January 4, 2013

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Summary of Recent Trends



Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

This report describes recent trends in the characteristics of annuitants and current employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) as well as the financial status of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF).


  • In FY2010, 87% of current civilian federal employees were enrolled in FERS, which covers employees hired since 1984. Thirteen percent were enrolled in CSRS, which covers only employees hired before 1984. 
  • In FY2011, nearly 2.5 million people received civil service annuity payments, including 1,893,748 employee annuitants and 585,761 survivor annuitants. Eighty-three percent of these individuals received annuities earned under CSRS. 
  • One-third of all federal employee annuitants and survivor annuitants reside in five states: California, Florida, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. 
  • The average civilian federal employee who retired in FY2011 was 60.5 years old and had completed 28.0 years of federal service. 
  • The average monthly annuity payment to workers who retired under CSRS in FY2011 was $4,270. Workers who retired under FERS received an average monthly annuity of $1,383. Employees retiring under FERS had a shorter average length of service than those under CSRS. FERS annuities are supplemented by Social Security benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). 
  • At the end of FY2011, the balance of the CSRDF was $798 billion, an amount equal to more than 11 times the amount of outlays from the fund that year. The trust fund balance is expected to reach $812 billion by the end of FY2013. 
  • From FY1970 to FY1985, the number of people receiving federal civil service annuities rose from fewer than 1 million to nearly 2 million, an increase of 105%. Between FY1985 and FY2011, the number of civil service annuitants rose by 559,000, an increase of 28%. 
  • In FY2011, civilian federal employment, including the Postal Service, totaled 2.8 million workers. This was 112,000 more than the number of employees in FY2000, but 152,000 fewer than the number of employees in FY1994. 
  • Almost all (99.9%) CSRS employees were aged 45 or older in FY2010, compared with 58% of FERS employees who were aged 45 or older (42% of FERS employees were younger than 45). Thirty-one percent of CSRS employees were aged 60 or older, whereas 12% of FERS employees were in this age range.


Date of Report: December 20, 2012
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: 98-972
Price: $29.95

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