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Publication Date

December 1999


Anthony Kolb

An analysis finds that check-cashing outlets proliferate in Charlotte, N.C. neighborhoods that have higher percentages of low-income African Americans.

This study investigates the relationship between bank and check-casher business locations and the socioeconomic characteristics of residents in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.

Several spatial measures of bank and check-casher accessibility and availability were constructed using GIS functionality. Tabular summaries, correlation analysis and regression analysis were performed to explore the relationships between these accessibility and availability measures and corresponding socioeconomic conditions in those tracts.

In tracts with higher proportions of African American residents and lower median incomes, both bank and check-casher locations are closer and generally more numerous than in tracts with low percentages of African American residents and high median household income, but check-cashers become comparatively closer and more numerous.

The accessibility and availability measures were found to be highly spatially correlated, i.e., values in neighboring tracts tend to be similar—beyond what would be explained by the socioeconomic characteristics of the tracts themselves. Although both income and racial composition are highly correlated with the comparative availability and accessibility measures, in the regression analysis, median income generally has weaker explanatory power in comparison to the percent of African American residents.

Topics(s): Financial Inclusion, Financial Services Industry