Channeling People Into the Economic Mainstream: Financial Access in Puerto Rico

A significant segment of the Puerto Rican population, 36%, is unbanked. These households tend to be extremely poor, with an average income of $8,472, and headed by older single unemployed females with a less than average education. Close to 50% of all unbanked households are located in the greater San Juan area. This lack of financial access precludes unbanked households from enjoying benefits associated with asset accumulation which exist in addition to the benefits conferred by the ability to defer consumption and creates a major obstacle for the implementation of asset-based policies to reduce poverty in Puerto Rico.