CalSTRS Latest Research: ” The People Behind California Public Education: A Demographic Study of CalSTRS Members”

Demographic information is a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between people and their socioeconomic status. For the general population, demographic variables are correlated with social and financial outcomes in life. Recently, the National Institute of Retirement Security published a report that also found strong relationships between demographic categories—such as race, gender, marital status and education—and retirement outcomes.

While findings about the general population support the need for demographic research, they are not universally applicable to CalSTRS membership. CalSTRS members represent a specific subgroup of the larger population. Not only does the retirement system serve just the state of California, CalSTRS members typically require five years of higher education to teach in public schools, and they work in a profession with a progressive compensation structure. These characteristics may change the influence of other demographic characteristics, such as gender or race, on financial outcomes.

CalSTRS has analyzed member data required to administer benefits—age, gender, earnings or benefit amount and years of service. Additional demographic information collected through past survey research extended available data to include variables such as marital status and household finances. In order to increase the breadth of data about CalSTRS members, research staff pursued a new survey to collect an expanded array of demographic information. This demographic survey yielded novel data about the characteristics of CalSTRS members. This comprehensive demographic data allows us to distinguish the experience of our members compared to the general population, and can offer new insight on member behavior, financial planning and retirement security.


For additional information or questions, contact:

Tom Buffalo
CalSTRS Research Manager

Ruth Latendorf