2009 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
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).
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.