Measuring Financial Inclusion Explaining Variation Across and Within Countries

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Date Published 2013
Primary Author Asli Demirguc-Kunt and Leora Klapper*
Other Authors
Theme Financial Inclusion


This paper summarizes the first global dataset of publicly available indicators that measure how adults in 148 countries save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. We use the data to benchmark financial inclusion around the world and investigate the significant country- and individual-level variation in how adults use formal and informal financial systems to manage their day-to-day finances and plan for the future. While the data show that 50 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a formal financial institution, account penetration varies across countries by economic development and across income groups within countries. Although half of adults around the world remain unbanked, reported barriers to account use—such as cost, distance and documentation requirements—may be possible to overcome through public and private sector-led initiatives to expand financial inclusion.

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