economic equity and justice
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: Prosperity Now

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 Norfolk County doing?

Access to financial services was lower among African American and Hispanic residents in Norfolk County than it was for Asian residents and white residents in 2017. Unbanked or underbanked rates in Norfolk were 41% for African Americans, 32% for Hispanics, 18% for Asians, and 14% for whites.

While Norfolk County had the lowest rates of unbanked and underbanked rates across all races and ethnicities compared to Essex County, Middlesex County and the nation, the disparities are similar.

Why do these disparities exist?

While Norfolk County had the lowest rates of unbanked and underbanked rates across all races and ethnicities compared to Essex County, Middlesex County and the nation, the disparities are similar.

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.

filtered snapshot

Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhiteHousehold of Color
Norfolk County18%41%32%14%28%
Essex County22%46%46%16%43%
Middlesex County19%45%38%15%30%
Massachusetts22%47%47%15%40%

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.




Households with Limited Financial Access by Race/Ethnicity
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhiteHousehold of Color
Norfolk CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Essex CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Middlesex CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MassachusettsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Source: Prosperity Now




Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity, 2017
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhiteHousehold of Color
Norfolk County18%41%32%14%28%
Essex County22%46%46%16%43%
Middlesex County19%45%38%15%30%
Massachusetts22%47%47%15%40%

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.




Households with Limited Financial Access by Race/Ethnicity, 2017
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhiteHousehold of Color
Norfolk CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Essex CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Middlesex CountyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
MassachusettsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Source: Prosperity Now


INDICATORS TREND
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Population by Age 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
Voter Registration -1
Decreasing
Voter Participation 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Total Jobs 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Living Wage 10 Not Applicable*
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty by Age -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Seniors Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Median Home Value 0
Maintaining
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership 1
Increasing
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Renting 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP 1
Increasing
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Food Insecurity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Without Vehicles 1
Increasing
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 10 Not Applicable*
People 65 or Older Living Alone 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*



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