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About the 2011 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial fulfilment of a statutory responsibility, the FDIC conducts biennial surveys of households to estimate the proportion of households that do not fully participate in the banking system. The second FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households presents new data and insights on the size of unbanked and underbanked markets at the national, regional, state, and large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels.

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2011 FDIC Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked

The 2011 FDIC Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked provides insight into basic checking and savings accounts offered by banks, auxiliary financial products and services such as small dollar loans, financial education and outreach activities, marketing and retail strategies, and the challenges and obstacles reported by banks as they offer financial services to the underserved. It identifies five opportunities for banks seeking to increase their efforts to expand economic inclusion.

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Minimum Opening Balance Requirement for Basic Checking Account

Chart 70

The Banking Status of U.S. Households

More than one in four households (28.3 percent) are either unbanked or underbanked, conducting some or all of their financial transactions outside of the mainstream banking system. Many of these households rely on AFS providers, while others use cash or other financial arrangements.

8.2 percent of US households are unbanked. This represents 1 in 12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total. Approximately 18 million adults live in unbanked households. With regard to underbanked results, 20.1 percent of US households are underbanked. This represents one in five households, or 24 million households with 52 million adults.

View 2011 household survey results

Chart 1

8.2 percent of US households are unbanked. This represents 1 in 12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total. Approximately 17 million adults live in unbanked households.

Bank Account Ownership

For the first time, the 2011 survey asked about the specific types of bank accounts—checking and savings—held by each household member. The large majority of US households (at least 88.5 percent) have a checking account (meaning that at least one person in the household has a checking account).

Savings accounts are less prevalent than checking accounts. Only 69.2 percent of households have a savings account, meaning almost one-third of US households do not.

Underbanked households are less likely to have a savings account (67.8 percent) than fully banked households (78.4 percent).

View 2011 household survey results

Household Ownership of Checking and Savings Accounts by Banking Status

Chart 13

29.3 percent of households do not have a savings account, while about 10 percent do not have a checking account. About two-thirds of households have both checking and savings accounts.

Research

The FDIC provides research, data, and additional resources for consumers, banks, policymakers, and others regarding underserved populations and the use of alternative financial services.

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What's New

The FDIC released a whitepaper assessing the economic inclusion potential of mobile financial services.

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Survey Reports

In 2012, the FDIC has released results from both a survey of unbanked and underbanked households and a survey of banks on their efforts to serve those consumers.

View the household survey report

View the bank survey report

For a set of PDF tables summarizing results specifically formatted to be accessible for the visually-impaired, please visit our accessibility page, email householdsurvey@fdic.gov or call 202-898-3668.