Un(der)banked Supplement Sample Notes

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Since 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has conducted a biennial survey to assess the inclusiveness of the US banking system. The survey is conducted in partnership with the US Census Bureau and collects responses from more than 36,000 households. The Un(der)banked Supplement provides estimates of the proportion of US households that do not have a bank account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but use alternative financial services. The survey also includes information on a number of alternative topics, including the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions and use of nonbank credit systems.

The Un(der)banked Supplement was first fielded as a supplement to the January 2009 CPS basic monthly survey. In the following years, it has appeared as a supplement to the June CPS basic monthly survey. This supplement has undergone several changes over the years.

In 2011, questions about who in the household has accounts and what type of accounts those are were added. Questions about reasons for not having accounts and use of alternative financial services were revised. Questions about closing accounts and plans to open accounts were dropped.

In 2013, questions about opening accounts in the last year, factors that may have contributed to opening or closing accounts, and bank account access methods were added. Questions about reasons for not having accounts, use of alternative financial services, and use of prepaid cards were revised and expanded. Several questions about reasons for using alternative financial services were dropped.

In 2015, questions about income stability, ways income was received, ways bills were paid, inability to pay bills, financial education, and saving habits were added. Questions about reasons for not having bank accounts, use of prepaid cards, and use of alternative financial services were revised. All "...in the past 30 days" questions were dropped, along with some alternative financial service use questions, some prepaid card use questions, and questions about factors that may have contributed to opening or closing accounts.

In 2019 the supplement was revised again. Several lines of questioning were dropped, including questions about plans to open bank accounts, not having accounts in the last year, detailed questions about use of prepaid cards, questions about income sources, and questions about bill payment methods. Questions about sending money outside the US, savings, sources of prepaid cards, and use of money orders were revised. Supplement nonresponses were allocated based on responses from households with similar demographics. Data quality flags are available for allocated variables present in 2019.

All households interviewed in the CPS basic monthly survey in the given month are eligible for the Un(der)banked Supplement. However, only households in which the respondent knew whether someone in the household had a bank account progressed to the rest of the supplement questions. Only these households are considered supplement respondents. From 2011 forward the respondent is required to have knowledge of household financial decisions.

The survey is conducted at the household level. From 2011 forward, there are two questions asked about each person in the household. These are question about which members of the household have accounts (BWHOACCT) and what types of accounts those are (BPACCT).

Households in which the respondent was not the household head were incorrectly classed as NIU in some variables. This has been corrected in IPUMS data.

Survey participation declined noticeably from 2011 to 2015. In 2011, 84% of CPS households participated in the Un(der)banked Supplement. This decreased to 77% in 2013 and 69% in 2015.

The sample weights UBSUPPWTH and UBSUPPWT are available for researchers analyzing Un(der)banked Supplement variables at the household level and person level, respectively. UBSUPPWTH and UBSUPPWT differ from the basic monthly sample weights due to the existence of non-response households within the Un(der)banked Supplement.

Un(der)banked Supplement Codebooks

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