“The findings in Portfolios of the Poor provided an eye-opening look at the financial lives of the poor in other countries, and we're excited to use this lens in the U.S. context. This research can fill an important gap in the current data on how low-income families in our own backyards are making ends meet and help reduce the barriers to financial well-being that these families currently face.”
- Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer at the Citi Foundation
“Remarkably, more than 30 million low-income families across the U.S. lack access to traditional banking and financial systems. This landmark study will help us to better understand their financial lives, greatly improving the ability the financial industry of nonprofits, and policymakers to meet their needs and increase the quality, affordability, and accessibility of financial services.”
- Frank DeGiovanni, Director of Financial Assets at the Ford Foundation
More than 1 in 4 American households (28%) are either unbanked or underbanked.
(Source: FDIC, 2011)
Study Sites: US Financial Diaries
Click on a region to explore our research.
“I took today off because stress is too high. I was going to borrow $200 from a friend and it fell through. I truly need it. I want to cry and can't. I need it before the month is out. I had it and lent it to my family and I'm catching hell getting it back.”
- Tammy, age 60, Cincinnati
“Sometimes I feel like banks steal your money. I don't really trust the bank.”
- Vivian, age 21, San Jose
“I keep the checking account strictly for paying bills. I've always had a checking account. I have had savings account, but I don't have anything to save right now. Every dime I get I need.”
- Rebecca, age 54, Cincinnati
“Sometimes I think I'd be better off if I was unemployed. I'd probably make more.”
- Robert, age 44, Kentucky