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December 08, 2008
Top and Bottom States for 401(k) Participation
New research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveals how many wage and salary workers in each state participate in 401(k)-type plans. Here we present the top and bottom 5 states in terms of 401(k) participation by employees.

Overall, 43.42 million wage and salary workers participated in a 401(k)-type plan in 2003, the most recent year in which individual state-by-state data is available. This figure represents 36.4% participation rate of wage and salary workers nationwide.

Here are the top 5 states for 401(k) participation:

  1. Alaska 49.1% (0.42 million workers)
  2. Iowa 43.3% (0.64 million)
  3. Maryland 41.7% (0.94 million)
  4. Wisconsin 41.3% (1.16 million)
  5. New Mexico 41.1% (0.17 million)

Honorable mentions include Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia, which all had participation rates between 40.1-40.9%, still well above the national average.

Here are the bottom 5 states for 401(k) participation:

  1. West Virginia 24.5% (0.18 million)
  2. Alabama 26.1% (0.42 million)
  3. Utah 26.6% (0.34 million)
  4. Kentucky 27.1% (0.57 million)
  5. Nevada 27.9% (0.21 million)

Arizona, California, Florida, and Tennessee also had participation rates below 30%, considerably below the national average.

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