New Yorkers Facing Retirement Crisis

A growing number of New York City residents don’t have enough money to retire, according to a new study.

A report called “Are New Yorkers Ready For Retirement?”—part of a research initiative by city Comptroller John Liu and the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy at The New School—says that between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of employees in the city who had access to employer-sponsored retirement plans declined from 48% to 40%— below the U.S. average of 53. According to a news release from Liu’s office, in 2009, only 35% of New York City workers were part of a retirement plan offered by employers.  

More than one-third of city households in which the head is near retirement age (55-64) have less than $10,000 in savings and will have to subsist almost entirely on Social Security or will not be able to retire.  

The report found that employers have become less willing or able to sponsor pensions—a trend that is true across most industries and occupations, and affects New Yorkers of nearly all ages and income groups. The brewing retirement crisis cuts across racial, ethnic and gender lines.  

“The deck is becoming increasing stacked against New Yorkers in their efforts to retire,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center. “More and more residents now face a choice between retirement into poverty or continuing to work in old age. Without significant policy reforms, the economic reforms tea leaves foretell a decrease in the standard of living for retired New Yorkers.”  

More information about the survey is available at