In January 2009, the FDIC sponsored a special supplement to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) to collect data on the number of U.S. households that are unbanked and underbanked, their demographic characteristics, and their reasons for being unbanked and underbanked. Teamed with the rich demographic and geographic data available through the CPS, this survey presents a wealth of previously unavailable data on unbanked and underbanked households are available at the national, state, and large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels. It is hoped that these survey results will help better inform policymakers and the industry about economic inclusion issues, and promote the goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to basic, safe, and affordable bank services.
The FDIC undertook this effort to address a gap in the availability of comprehensive data on the number of unbanked and underbanked households in the United States. The FDIC also conducted this survey to comply with Section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 that requires it to conduct ongoing surveys of banks on their efforts to serve the unbanked. The supplement survey complements the FDIC Survey on Banks’ Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked , published in February 2009, and provides insights into the size of the unbanked and underbanked markets. Some of the key overall findings include:
- An estimated 7.7 percent of U.S. households, approximately 9 million, are unbanked. These households do not have a checking or a savings account.
- The proportion of U.S. households that are unbanked varies considerably among different racial and ethnic groups, with certain racial and ethnic minorities more likely to be unbanked than the population as a whole. Minorities more likely to be unbanked include blacks (an estimated 21.7 percent of black households are unbanked), Hispanics (19.3 percent), and American Indian/Alaskans (15.6 percent). Racial groups less likely to be unbanked are Asians (3.5 percent) and whites (3.3 percent).
- In addition to the unbanked households, an estimated 17.9 percent of U.S. households, roughly 21 million, are underbanked. These households have a checking or savings account but rely on alternative financial services. Specifically, underbanked households have used non-bank money orders, non-bank check-cashing services, payday loans, rent-to-own agreements, or pawn shops at least once or twice a year or refund anticipation loans at least once in the past five years.
- Certain racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be underbanked than the population as a whole. Minorities more likely to be underbanked include blacks (an estimated 31.6 percent), American Indian/ Alaskans (28.9 percent), and Hispanics (24.0 percent). Asians and whites are less likely to be underbanked (7.2 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively).
New as of 7 Sep 2010:
Read the Addendum on the Use of Alternative Financial Services - PDF 5Mb
This site presents the findings of the Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households in an interactive manner, allowing for comparisons of the data; as well as links to other initiatives.
Download the data using the U.S. Census Bureau’s DataFerrett tool
For a CD-ROM containing the raw data file, contact U.S. Census Bureau’s Customer Service Branch at 301-763-INFO or 1-800-923-8282. For additional information see http://www.census.gov/mp/www/cat/people_and_households/current_population_survey.html .