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After growing sharply throughout the 1990s, participation rates in 401(k)s leveled off during the next decade, especially during the period between 2005 and 2009, according to trend analysis from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In the case of IRA ownership, the rates declined slightly for the same period.

The EBRI report finds that the proportion of workers ages 21–64 (those most likely to be in the work force) participating in a 401(k)-type plan increased from 23.3% in 1996 to 33.1% in 2005, before leveling off at 33% in 2009.

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