January 30, 2019

These are the participation rates and total number of participants in the TSP, according to TSP administrators.

Participation rates in the Thrift Savings Plan took a dip during the 2009 financial crisis, but rates have improved significantly across the board by the end of 2018. Participation rates grew dramatically in 2018 among uniformed services personnel, probably due to increasing participation via the “Blended Retirement System” (BRS):

TSP Participation Rates, 2007-2018

The military participation rates appear to mimic FERS participation rates in its first decade. Long-term, FERS participation rates grew from the 40% range in its first year of existence to the 80% range ten years later. It hovered in the 80s for the next two decades, but slowly began to increase again after automatic enrollment in the TSP was instituted for new hires from 2010.

FERS Participation Rates, 1987-2018

And here are the total numbers of participants in the Thrift Savings Plan as of 2017, by category:

Total TSP Participants, 2011-2017

Note that the total number of TSP participants across all categories as of December 2017 was 5,170,761, with notably strong growth in the last five years:

Total TSP Participation, 2011-2017

Congrats to everyone who has or continues to build wealth in their Thrift Savings Funds!