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[Excerpt] The Pension Benefi t Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) was established by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to ensure that participants in defined benefit pension plans receive their pensions if their plans terminate without sufficient assets to pay promised benefits. The PBGC administers separate insurance programs to protect participants in single-employer and multiemployer plans.

The PBGC has published the Pension Insurance Data Book annually since 1996 to present detailed statistics on PBGC program operations and benefit protections.

This edition of the Pension Insurance Data Book contains two short articles. The first is a brief description about recent trends in defined benefit pension plans and includes most of the graphs that were presented under the heading “PBGC Data and Trends” in previous editions of the Pension Insurance Data Book. The second article discusses how underfunding is measured in defined benefit pension plans. It also explains the assumptions underlying each of the five underfunding measures presented in the expanded table S-47 and the group of plans to which each measure applies.

A number of tables have undergone minor modifi cations. Table S-19 (“PBGC Claims by Industry”) now bases industry categories on the business codes associated with the North American Industry Classification System. Previously, they were based on the Standard Industrial Classification codes. This change had relatively little effect on PBGC claims from most industries. The participant coverage figures in table S-50 are now based on pension coverage and receipt data from the May 2003 Survey of Income and Program Participation interviews. Previously, the estimates were based on April 1993 Current Population Survey data. This change increased or decreased estimated participant counts for several states by 100,000 participants or more. Tables S-37 and M-16 reflect the PBGC premium increases enacted with the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

The Data Book is available on the PBGC’s Web site at:


Suggested Citation
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. (2006). Pension insurance data book 2005. Washington, DC: Author.