What Social Security could look like 20 years from now in every state

Flickr/Timothy KrauseYour retirement may depend on Social Security benefits.
  • Social Security benefits for retirees grew by an average of 2.54% every year over the last three decades.
  • If this growth continues, the average Social Security benefit for retirees will grow to $US2,318.89 per month by 2038.
  • However, that amount will be offset by a higher cost of living.

For many American retirees, paying their monthly bills is possible because of their Social Security retirement benefits – but the program’s future isn’t exactly clear.

Several factors will determine what happens to Social Security benefits going forward. The US has an ageing population with many people nearing retirement age. Combined with longer life spans and fewer workers contributing to Social Security, retirement funds may feel a crunch in the future.

As it stands now, the Social Security Administration makes a cost of living adjustment to increase retirement benefits by a certain amount every year. Over the past 30 years, from 1989 to 2018, the average cost of living adjustment was 2.54%. But not every year sees the same increase. Social Security benefits increased by 2.0% in 2018, 0% in 2016, and 3.6% in 2012.

Business Insider calculated what Social Security benefits could look like in 20 years if this trend continues. Using the 2.54% average cost of living adjustment, the typical retiree could expect to receive a monthly check worth $US2,318.89 in 2038. Currently, the average monthly retirement benefit is $US1,404.15.

While that may sound like a more reasonable amount, don’t change your retirement plans just yet. The increase in retirement benefits will be nominal because overall cost of living will increase at the same rate. Meaning, the benefits retirees receive in 20 years will be worth about the same amount as they are now, in terms of spending power.

Below, see the average Social Security retirement benefit in 2018 compared to the estimated benefit 20 years from now for every state and Washington DC, ranked from the lowest to the highest.


51. Louisiana

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,311.72

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,166.24


50. Maine

BW Folsom / Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,314.22

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,170.37


49. Mississippi

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,319.06

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,178.37


48. New Mexico

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,323.16

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,185.14


47. Montana

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,331.30

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,198.58


46. Arkansas

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,333.93

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,202.93


45. South Dakota

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,336.28

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,206.80


44. Kentucky

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,340.30

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,213.45


43. Washington, DC

Sean Pavone/Shutterstcok

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,342.98

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,217.87


42. Alaska

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,343.39

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,218.55


41. North Dakota

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,344.48

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,220.35


40. Oklahoma

Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,368.52

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,260.05


39. Idaho

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,370.97

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,264.09


38. Texas

Shutterstock/Olddays

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,375.08

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,270.88


37. California

TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,377.54

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,274.94


36. Nevada

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock.com

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,378.14

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,275.93


35. Alabama

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,379.92

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,278.88


34. Georgia

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,382.27

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,282.75


33. Missouri

Tupungato/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,384.10

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,285.77


32. West Virginia

Steve Heap/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,384.50

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,286.43


31. Ohio

f11photo/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,385.60

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,288.25


30. Hawaii

Nickolay Stanev/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,391.79

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,298.48


29. Tennessee

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,393.61

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,301.48


28. Florida

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,395.31

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,304.30


27. North Carolina

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,404.91

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,320.14


26. Oregon

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,406.20

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,322.28


25. Nebraska

Steve O’Donnell/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,406.96

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,323.53


24. Colorado

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,407.49

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,324.56


23. Iowa

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1408.79

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,326.55


22. South Carolina

Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,416.91

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,339.96


21. Vermont

Courtesy of Howardliuphoto/Dreamstime.com

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,419.44

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,344.15


20. Wyoming

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,426.58

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,355.93


19. Rhode Island

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,430.63

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,362.62


18. Arizona

welcomia/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,432.72

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,366.07


17. Illinois

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,434.34

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,368.74


16. Utah

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,437.30

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,373.63


15. Wisconsin

Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,443.26

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,383.48


14. Virginia

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,444.06

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,384.80


13. Massachusetts

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,444.36

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,385.29


12. Kansas

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,450.99

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,396.25


11. Pennsylvania

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,454.99

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,402.86


10. Minnesota

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,457.22

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,406.53


9. New York

Shutterstock/littlenystock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,458.19

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,408.13


8. Indiana

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,464.61

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,418.74


7. Washington

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,472.50

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,431.77


6. Maryland

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,482.87

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,448.89


5. Michigan

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,493.77

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,466.90


4. New Hampshire

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,498.01

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,473.90


3. Delaware

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,517.11

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,505.43


2. Connecticut

Shutterstock

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,546.67

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,554.25


1. New Jersey

Average Social Security benefits in 2018:$US1,553.63

Estimated Social Security benefits in 2038:$US2,565.74

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