Actuaries are math professionals who measure and help manage financial risk. They are typically employed by insurance companies, consulting firms, government agencies, and businesses. In state government, agencies administering pension, health care, unemployment, or worker's compensation benefits rely on actuarial calculations in one way or another.

Pension actuaries estimate the financial implications and consequences of events twenty, thirty, or more years into the future. They are concerned with demographic trends and statistics within the pension plans’ membership. They analyze the economic factors that may affect the value of a pension plan’s benefits or assets. This work relies on mathematical principles and assumptions, statistics, probabilities, and professional judgment.

The California Research Bureau provides a plain language primer that summarizes and explains the actuarial methods and practices.

More information about the actuarial profession in general is available at Be An Actuary and The Society of Actuaries websites.


Last Reviewed: 11/08/2021

Last Updated: 8/16/2018