(PRNewswire) – A new GoBankingRates study examined current and historical data on online banking habits across several demographic groups.
The findings revealed that blacks are statistically slower to adopt online banking than whites – data that some experts suggest might be tied to a widening median household income gap between blacks and whites.
"The media often talks about economic disparities in America; when we looked at digital trends in banking, we saw a clear racial divide when it came to access to modern banking technology," said GoBankingRates.com editor Jennifer Calonia.
When presented the findings, Dedrick Muhammad, senior director of the NAACP's economic department, said, "I assume [there are] differences in income and wealth, differences in accessibility to brick-and-mortar banks and ATMs, and, of course, differences in ownership of computers and high speed internet."
The investigation discovered the following data regarding the relationship between ethnicity, income and online banking use:
* 61 percent of U.S. Internet users bank online, but black, non-Hispanic individuals show a statistically significant drop in online banking usage at 48 percent.
* While black median household income has increased from approximately $24,000 in 1967 to $40,000 in 2011, black households are still only making 59 percent of what white households make, widening the black-white income gap to more than $27,000 today.
"I am not as concerned as to whether various ethnic groups use banking services online or in-person, but rather … [that] we close the economic divide that leaves groups disproportionately with such low wealth that they fall out of the banking system," Muhammad said.
GoBankingRates.com evaluated data from two PEW Research Center's reports: "51% of U.S. Adults Bank Online," and "King's Dream Remains an Elusive Goal" and its proprietary database.
(To read the full report, please visit GoBankingRates.com at http://bit.ly/15PkqQl.)