Data Source —
This data was extracted from comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) prepared by independent municipal units in Michigan. These CAFRs are collected by the Department of Treasury and available for public consumption. Specific data collected includes the overall funded level of the municipality, the fiscal position of any independently administrated pension plans, and the fiscal position of any administrated retiree healthcare benefit plans — which are commonly called OPEB plans (for “Other Post-Employment Benefits”).
Some additional data was collected from the Michigan Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) that administrates pension plans on behalf of several hundred municipalities across the state.
Downloading the raw dataset will also provide a list of OPEB plan provisions for the employers offering such benefits, as well as the assumed rate of return for MERS and independently administrated pension plans.
Any questions regarding this data set should be reported to Anthony Randazzo, managing director for the Pension Integrity Project: Ask a Question
Data Terminology —
We report the data for the Pension plans, Healthcare plans, and combined. Any data related to a “Pension” plan is only in reference to defined benefit plans, and not defined contribution plans. If there was a difference between pension finance figures reported in the CAFR and by MERS we show the data for MERS. Any data related to “Health” or “Healthcare” is in reference to OPEB.
The interactive map uses common language terminology for many aspects of the data. Any usage of the term “Liabilities” is reporting the total pension liability or accrued actuarial liability (depending on the standard reported). Any usage of the term “Assets” is reporting the fiduciary net position or actuarially valued assets (depending on the standard reported). Any usage of the term “Debt” is reporting the net pension liability or unfunded actuarial liability (depending on the standard reported).
This dataset includes more than 50,000 points of information and it is almost impossible to get everything right. We might have copied a number wrong out of a CAFR or transposed the data incorrectly in preparing the map. We’ve taken steps to peer review the data to avoid major errors, but if you see one slip through we would love to know about it and correct it. Please send us a note with any mistake you notice: Report a Problem
About Us —
This project was a collaboration of Pension Integrity Project staff Anthony Randazzo, Marc Joffe, and Daniel Takash.
The interactive map itself was created using Tableau Public by Jared Kendall, a data journalist. See his portfolio of interactive infographics here.