In 2014, nearly 20 percent of the 200,000 active retirees who received retirement benefits from one of the state’s five pension systems no longer live in Illinois. Collectively, about $1.5 billion was distributed to pensioners residing in other states, U.S. territories and countries.

The data was obtained from each pension system through Freedom of Information Act requests and show the total number of pensioners who live outside Illinois, break down by state and gross retirement benefits paid to out-of-state retirees in fiscal year 2014.

It’s probably not much of surprise that Florida is the most popular state for retirees. But what you might find interesting is that a number of our neighbor states seem to be common choices for retirees from all five pension systems. If anything, that tells you the Midwest weather is not the only culprit.

Here are the 2014 statistics for each pension system along with which states are home to the most Illinois pensioners.

1. Teachers Retirement System

Active retirees: 101,184

Out-of-state retirees: 20,147

Retirement benefits paid: $874.9 million

States with the most TRS pensioners:

  1. Florida – 4,037 ($198.2 million)
  2. Arizona – 1,829 ($90.5 million)
  3. Wisconsin – 1,688 ($77.1 million)
  4. Indiana – 1,459 ($64.7 million)
  5. Missouri – 1,352 ($54.5 million)
  6. Texas – 897 ($34.0 million)
  7. California – 774 ($28.3 million)
  8. Michigan – 744 ($33.6 million)
  9. Colorado – 715 ($30.7 million)
  10. Tennessee – 640 ($27.8 million)

2. State Universities Retirement System

Active retirees: 50,237

Out-of-state retirees: 11,240

Retirement benefits paid: $417.7 million

States with the most SURS pensioners (retirement benefits paid by state are unavailable):

  1. Florida – 1,657
  2. California – 728
  3. Arizona – 699
  4. Missouri – 638
  5. Indiana – 610
  6. Texas – 552
  7. Wisconsin – 551
  8. Michigan – 406
  9. North Carolina – 361
  10. Colorado – 336
  11. Tennessee – 336

3. State Employees’ Retirement System

Active retirees: 53,478

Out-of-state retirees: 6,506

Retirement benefits paid: $193.1 million

States with the most SERS pensioners:

  1. Florida – 1,444 ($47.5 million)
  2. Arizona – 561 ($16.7 million)
  3. Missouri – 543 ($18.2 million)
  4. Indiana – 369 ($9.9 million)
  5. Texas – 363 ($10.5 million)
  6. Wisconsin – 309 ($8.0 million)
  7. Tennessee – 255 ($8.4 million)
  8. California – 237 ($5.2 million)
  9. Nevada – 226 ($7.6 million)
  10. Georgia – 197 ($5.3 million)

4. Judges Retirement System

Active retirees: 767

Out-of-state retirees: 87

Retirement benefits paid: $10.6 million

States with the most JRS pensioners:

  1. Florida – 43 ($5.4 million)
  2. Wisconsin – 5 ($514,714)
  3. Michigan – 4 ($547,969)
  4. Texas – 4 ($463,772)
  5. Arizona – 3 ($279,645)
  6. California – 3 ($361,605)
  7. Colorado – 2 ($253,665)
  8. Missouri – 2 ($150,982)
  9. North Carolina – 2 ($181,742)
  10. New Mexico – 2 ($341,026)
  11. Nevada – 2 ($168,767)
  12. Tennessee – 2 ($204,363)
  13. Virginia – 2 ($341,206)

5. General Assembly Retirement System

Active retirees: 303

Out-of-state retirees: 28

Retirement benefits paid: $1.3 million

States with the most GARS pensioners:

  1. Florida – 9 ($455,031)
  2. Indiana – 4 ($97,172)
  3. Maryland – 2 ($114,039)
  4. Michigan – 2 ($156,704)
  5. Texas – 2 ($42,734)
  6. Wisconsin – 2 ($41,547)

NEXT ARTICLE: Five Illinois pension systems by the numbers

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