2015 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
Public confidence in the banking system stems in part from how effectively banks serve the needs of the nation’s diverse population. Accordingly, the FDIC is committed to expanding Americans’ access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is one contribution to this end.
To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial response to a statutory mandate, the FDIC has conducted the survey biennially since 2009.1 The most recent survey was administered in June 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 36,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the proportion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.
Estimates from the 2015 survey indicate that 7.0 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2015. This proportion represents approximately 9.0 million households. An additional 19.9 percent of U.S. households (24.5 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system.
The 2015 survey examines a number of additional topics, including the methods that banked households used to access accounts, use of prepaid cards, use of alternative financial services, saving for unexpected expenses or emergencies, use of bank and nonbank credit, and the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions in a typical month.
See economicinclusion.gov for survey findings, the ability to generate custom tables using 2015 and earlier years of survey data, and data downloads and documentation.
The 2015 survey report, executive summary, and other related materials are linked below. (All items are PDF files. See PDF Help for assistance.)
- Read the 2015 Executive Summary - PDF
- Read the 2015 Full Report - PDF
- Read the 2015 Appendix Tables - PDF
Related FDIC Initiatives
- 2013 Household Survey
- 2011 Household Survey
- 2009 Household Survey
- Mobile Financial Services and Economic Inclusion
- Bank Efforts to Serve Unbanked and Underbanked Consumers: Qualitative Research
- Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked
- Model Safe Accounts Pilot
- Small-Dollar Loan Pilot Program
- Money Smart
- Alliance for Economic Inclusion
1 Section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109–173) calls for the FDIC to conduct ongoing surveys, “on efforts by insured depository institutions to bring those individuals and families who have rarely, if ever, held a checking account, a savings account or other type of transaction or check cashing account at an insured depository institution [‘unbanked’] into the conventional finance system.” Section 7 further instructs the FDIC to consider several factors when conducting the surveys, including estimating the size and worth of the unbanked market in the United States and identifying the primary issues that prevent unbanked individuals from establishing conventional accounts.