HR Administration

Study Hispanics Lag on Plan Participation

By Staff Report

Oct. 14, 2010

About half of white workers in the U.S.— 49.4 percent —participated in an employer-based retirement plan in 2009 compared with 41.6 percent of black workers and 26.7 percent of Hispanic workers, according to a new study.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute study, Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2009, also found that 70 percent of black and white workers with annual earnings of at least $50,000 participated in a plan, but only 57 percent of Hispanic workers at the same earning level did so.

Also, the percentage of U.S.-born Hispanic workers participating in a plan was twice as high as the rate of Hispanic workers born outside the U.S., 40 percent to 20 percent, respectively.

“What this shows is that plan participation levels between the races vary because of income and cultural differences,” said Craig Copeland, senior research associate at the institute and the study’s author, in an interview. “However, as income increases, these differences appear to go away between black and white workers but not with Hispanics.”

The study used U.S. Census Bureau data.   

Filed by Doug Halonen of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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