Racial Equity
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity

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Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity, 2015

What does this measure?

The percentage of households that have neither a checking nor savings account (unbanked) or have an account but instead relied on alternative financial services (underbanked) in the past 12 months.

Why is this important?

Having access to and using checking and savings accounts and other financial products can help families save money, plan for the future, and build credit. Rates of underbanked and unbanked households may indicate limited access to resources, especially in low-income communities. Without a bank account, one must pay fees for cashing checks that accumulate over time.

How is our region doing?

Access to financial services was lower among African American and Hispanic residents in the three MetroWest counties than it was for white or Asian residents in 2015. Unbanked or underbanked rates in Middlesex were 46% for African Americans, 39% for Hispanics, 19% for Asians, and 15% for whites. Rates in Norfolk were 42% for African Americans, 32% for Hispanics, 19% for Asians, and 15% for whites. Rates in Worcester were 48% for both African Americans and Hispanics, 21% for Asians, and 17% for whites. These were similar to disparities in Massachusetts and the United States as a whole.

Why do these disparities exist?

Scholars have uncovered the connections between racial disparities in access to financial services and historical and contemporary practices that disadvantage the Black community and other people of color and contribute to gaps in wealth that have compounded over generations. Policies to exclude people of color from financial systems and capital included redlining, which prevented many Black people from obtaining mortgages. Historic incidents, including the demise of the Freedman's Savings and Trust in 1874 which resulted in a $2.9 million loss for mostly Black depositors lacking federal insurance, contributed to ongoing mistrust of financial institutions. Today, there is a dearth of bank branches in some neighborhoods and people of color tend to pay more for bank products such as car loans or mortgages even when they have comparable credit ratings as white peers.

Notes about the data

Underbanked households are those that have a checking and/or a savings account but have used non-bank money orders, non-bank check-cashing services, non-bank remittances, payday loans, rent-to-own services, pawn shops or refund anticipation loans (RALs) in the past 12 months. Unbanked households have neither a checking nor savings account.


Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity, 2015
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Massachusetts17%31%24%14%
Middlesex16%31%23%13%
Norfolk16%31%21%12%
Worcester17%32%24%14%

Source: Prosperity Now
Notes: Underbanked: Percentage of households that have a checking and/or a savings account and have used non-bank money orders, non-bank check-cashing services, non-bank remittances, payday loans, rent-to-own services, pawn shops or refund anticipation loans (RALs) in the past 12 months. Unbanked: Percentage of households with neither a checking nor savings account.








INDICATORS
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Disengaged Youth
Reports of Domestic Violence
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work
Average Travel Time to Work
Households With Internet Access
Voter Participation Rate
Average Charitable Contribution
Protected Land
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Crimes Against People
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Foreign-Born Population
Language Diversity
Population by Age
Change in Population by Age/Gender
Seniors Living Alone
People with Disabilities
Change in Total Jobs by Sector
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Average Salary by Sector
High-Tech Jobs
Female to Male Earnings Ratio
Prekindergarten Participation
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
Chronically Absent Students
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
80/20 Income Ratio
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity
Homelessness
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Group
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity


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