Teacher Retirement Rate Expected to Increase by 25% This Year

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is projecting that nearly 16,000 teachers will retire at the end of this year. That number represents a 25% increase in the average retirement numbers of the past five years and is the largest number since 2009-10, the year after the Great Recession.

The projection is based on the 3,200 teachers who declared retirement in the first half of the school year and could compound the shortage of teachers many California districts are already worried about. The 16,000 retirements would be 5% of the 320,000 teachers in the state, according to an EdSource report.

By comparison, the 12,496 teachers who retired in 2019-20 were actually 230 fewer than the five-year average. Last summer, when teachers decided whether to retire, it was unclear how long schools would remain in distance learning. But a full year of distance learning appears to have been a factor this year.

In a survey with 500 replies from the 3,202 teachers who retired early this year, they were asked to check the reasons for their retirement. Top responses were the challenges of teaching during the pandemic (56%), not wanting to continue working remotely (35%) and not wanting to risk exposure to COVID-19 (35%).

CalSTRS’ recently released retiree profiles show: 

  • The average retiree in 2019-20 retired at age 63, after teaching an average of 24.3 years, and will receive an average monthly member-only benefit of $4,614.
  • The average life expectancy of a female CalSTRS member is 91; for men it’s 88.
  • CalSTRS saw a 13% increase in members over 100 years old, with 410 retirees over age 100 as of June 30, 2020. CalSTRS’ oldest retiree had reached 108.