Has There Been a Shift to Small Firms? The Impact of Firm Size on Employment-Based Health Benefits

IRA and Keogh Assets and Contributions

August 2004, Vol. 25, No. 8
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 691 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2004

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Executive Summary

Has There Been a Shift to Small Firms? The Impact of Firm Size on Employment-Based Health Benefits—This article examines changes in the distribution of workers among different size firms and the resulting impact on employment-based health benefits.

Small firms account for much of the new job growth in the United States. However, the percentage of workers in firms with fewer than 500 employees has declined slightly between the 1980s and today. In addition, workers in small firms are much less likely to have health benefits than workers in large firms.


There has been a decline in the probability that a worker had employment-based health benefits between 1987 and 2002 across nearly all firm sizes. Only in firms with fewer than 25 employees did the percentage of workers with employment-based health benefits from their own employer not decline, increasing slightly from 30 percent to 30.8 percent over the period.

IRA and Keogh Assets and Contributions—This article examines the level of assets contained in IRAs and Keoghs; the amount of tax-deductible contributions to them, with a particular focus on IRAs; and the demographic characteristics associated with those who contribute to tax-deductible IRAs.


IRA asset levels increased continuously from 1981 through 1999 before declining for three consecutive years from 2000 through 2002. However, in 2003, the IRA asset level increased to a new historic high of $2.98 trillion, re-establishing a nearly 20-year growth trend.


The growth of individuals making IRA contributions has not been statistically significant. Higher dollar limits for IRA contributions enacted under EGTRRA are associated with a significant increase in the total amount contributed to tax-deductible IRAs.