State Government Capitol

Do Government Workers Live Longer?

Did you know most states and municipalities assume their workers will live longer than private sector workers?

A report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College took a look at the mortality of public sector workers vs those in the private sector. The report uses data from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study (NLMS) to analyze public versus private sector mortality.

When using the 11-year Mortality Rates for 55-64 Year Old Workers, the data supports the notion that public sector workers live longer. Public sector men ages 55-64 were 0.6 percentage points less likely to die within 11 years (i.e., by the time they were ages 66-75) than private sector men. For women, the gap was larger – 1.2 percentage points.


Why do government employees seem to live longer than private sector workers? Education.

While this conclusion could be used to assume that government workers jobs are less stressful, less work, etc. The real cause is demographics. Public sector workers tend to have more education than private sector workers; more education means lower mortality. Once the data is adjusted to eliminate the difference in education levels, the rates of mortality between public and private sector workers are comparable.