Public pension benefits provide a vital source of retirement security to the retired public employees who earned them during their years of public service. But the impact of public pension benefits goes beyond the retirees, spouses, and other beneficiaries of these plans. These benefit dollars also play a critical role in supporting local economies, especially in small towns across America.

In absolute terms, the greatest number of public pension recipients and, therefore, public pension benefit dollars reside in big cities. However, the economies of big cities are large and complex, so the relative economic impact of pension benefit dollars is modest despite the number of retired public employees who live there. This, however, is not the case in small towns and rural areas where the economic impact of pension benefit dollars goes farther.

Read Dan Doonan’s Forbes column here.