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February 06, 2008
Gender Gap Shrinking For Employment-Based Pension Income
While gender still has a significant impact on the likelihood of an individual receiving a retirement annuity and/or employment-based pension income in retirement, the gender gap is closing according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

About one in four (25.1%) men age 50 and over receive pension and/or annuity income, with mean pension income of $19,062 according to the EBRI study "Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income, Among Individuals 50 and Over". These figures drop for women age 50 and over, as just 17.8% receive pensions and annuities, with mean income of $12,971. Meanwhile, 44.6% of men age 65 and over receive pension/annuity income, with a mean amount of $17,200 versus 28.4% of the same age group for women, with a mean amount of $11,142.

However, as EBRI notes in its executive summary to the study, even though women were only about two-thirds likely as men to receive an annuity and/or pensions payment, "women's participation in retirement plans has risen significantly relative to men in recent years, closing the 'gender gap' in retirement plan participation--even though retirement plan participation has been declining for both men and women. Hence, the aggregate pension and annuity recipiency for women and the amounts they receive are likely to increase over time as these younger generations retire."

Another demographic variable with a notable impact on pension income, according to the study, was educational level. There was a notable gap in mean income, for example, between both men and women with graduate degrees and their respective counterparts with either only a high school diploma or associate's degree. For men age 50 and older, those with a graduate degree had pension/annuity income with a mean amount of $30,112 compared with $16,457 for those with a high school diploma or associate's degree. For women, those with a graduate degree received a median amount ($24,621) twice as large as women with a high school diploma or associate's degree ($10,095).

The data for the study came from the March 2007 Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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