Teacher Retirement Trends

Teacher Retirement Trends

Study of 865,000 Teachers and Educational Employees Finds Fewer of Them Planning to Retire than Before the Pandemic

We would have assumed that due to health concerns related to Covid-19, a growing number of teachers would be planning to retire, especially those who are older who have chronic health concerns.

But a new study of 865,000 teachers and other educational employees conducted in 2020 by the74million.org, found that fewer of them, not more, are planning to retire now. The 74million.org, which is named for the 74 million school children in America, is a nonprofit that monitors educational trends in America.

Although the study obtained data from only seven states – Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – the overall number of respondents tells us that the findings of the study are statistically significant.

How Many Teachers and Educational Employees are Planning to Retire?

Here’s a summary of what the74million.org’s survey determined:

  • Alabama – 7.2% more teachers and educational employees are planning to retire than were in the years 2015-2019
  • Arizona – the rate of planned retirements has actually decreased by 8.4%
  • Connecticut – the rate of planned retirements has decreased by 12.8%
  • Kentucky – the rate of planned retirements has decreased by 13.5%
  • Massachusetts – the rate of planned retirements has decreased by 7.7%
  • New Hampshire – the rate of planned retirements has decreased by 0.4%
  • Pennsylvania – the rate of planned retirements has decreased by 9.1%

Of the seven states surveyed, Alabama was the only one where more teachers are planning to retire today than were planning to retire before the pandemic.

What Influences Employees’ Decisions to Retire?

To quote from Chad Aldeman and Alex Spurrier, who authored the study:

“We do not have sufficient data to explain exactly why retirements are down this year, but there are structural reasons that keep teacher retirement patterns relatively steady. About 90 percent of public school teachers are enrolled in defined-benefit pension plans, where retirement benefits are guaranteed based on the worker’s years of experience and age. Those plans offer predictable, guaranteed benefit payments regardless of external economic factors. In addition, about two-thirds of public school teachers serve in states or districts that provide health care benefits to eligible retirees.”

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