The aging of the state government workforce: Trends and implications

Gregory B. Lewis, Jik Yoon Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The aging of the baby boom generation, combined with the success of the New Public Management in downsizing the federal government, has led to a rapidly aging federal service, a reduced flow of new blood, and a looming "tsunami" of retirements that are forcing the federal service to reconsider many of its human resource practices. Are state government workforces undergoing the same transformation? Using the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census 5% Public Use Microdata Samples and the 2001-2007 American Community Surveys, the authors find that state governments have older workers than any other sector and that the mean age of their workforce has risen nearly as much as that of the federal civil service. Thus, the retirement tsunami may hit states harder than the federal government. The authors examine the effects of this coming tsunami on turnover, institutional memory, diversity, and educational qualifications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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