The Truth-O-Meter Says:

An estimated 56 million Americans don't have bank accounts.

John Edwards on Thursday, June 21st, 2007 in New York City.

Correct, but he uses the most sensational estimate

There's more than one source on these bank account figures and all of them are estimates.

But no matter the details, the point Edwards seeks to make is the same: Because they lack bank accounts, millions of poor must rely on expensive check-cashing services and payday loans.

The Edwards campaign Website uses the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank for its figure of about 56 million people without accounts. The center got the number from a 2002 report by the General Accounting Office, which used U.S. Census data to estimate that 55.9-million adults did not hold checking, savings or money market accounts in 1999.

But that number is at the high end of the available estimates. According to the Federal Reserve Board's 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances, its most recent, the number of American families without a bank account is closer to 10-million. The Census estimates 2.6 individuals per houshold, which would put the Federal Reserve estimate on bank accounts at 26-million at the very most because the Census household figure includes children.

About this statement:

Published: Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Economy


Federal Reserve Bulletin, Recent Changes in U.S. Family Finances: Evidence from the 2001 and 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances Center for Financial Services Innovation

Written by: Wes Allison
Researched by: Wes Allison
Edited by: Bill Adair

How to contact us:

We want to hear your suggestions and comments.

For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.

For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.

Browse The Truth-O-MeterTM: