For the purposes of regional data analysis, the World Bank classification of North America includes only two countries: United States and Canada. According to the 2021 edition of the Global Findex – the World Bank’s global database that tracks financial inclusion – North America has the highest percentage of people who own an account. Specifically, 99.6 of the adult population in Canada and 95 percent in the United States own an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider.
The 2021 edition of Global Findex, the World Bank’s global database that tracks financial inclusion, shows significant progress in financial inclusion over the last 10 years. Today, 76 percent of the world’s adult population has access to an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider, up from 51 percent in 2011. Developing economies have seen remarkable progress, with 71 percent of the adult population having an account, a 30-percentage point increase over the last decade.
Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the region with the lowest proportion of adults with a financial account in the world. In fact, only 48 percent of adults in the region, excluding high-income economies, have an account, 23 percentage points lower than the developing economy average. Being unemployed makes it even less likely for an adult to have an account. Only 39 percent of adults who are not active in the labor force in MENA have an account, the lowest percentage of all world regions.
Europe and Central Asia
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), the progress towards financial inclusion has been impressive, with a surge in the number of adults with bank accounts. According to the latest edition of the Global Findex which provides data for 2021, the share of adults with a bank account in the region, excluding high-income economies, increased from 65 percent in 2017 to 78 percent in 2021, which is higher than the developing economy average of 71 percent. In addition, ECA has the lowest percentage of inactive accounts among developing economies, standing at only 3 percent compared to the 13 percent developing economy average.
South Asia, home to a population of over 1.9 billion, is grappling with financial exclusion. According to the Global Findex 2021 database, the region's financial inclusion rate is 68 percent, which falls below the average of 71 percent of developing economies. The share of adults with accounts has remained largely unchanged since 2017. However, the rising presence of mobile phones offers a unique opportunity to boost account ownership through mobile payments. According to the Global Findex, over half of the 430 million adults without accounts in the region own a mobile phone.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is making significant strides towards financial inclusion, according to the latest edition of the Global Findex from 2021. The World Bank database, which tracks financial inclusion worldwide, reveals that 73 percent of adults in the region, excluding high-income economies, now have access to an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider, marking an impressive increase of 18.5 percentage points since 2017. This jump in account ownership is the largest of any developing region and places overall account ownership in LAC slightly above the developing economy average of 71 percent.
East Asia and Pacific
Financial inclusion in East Asia and the Pacific region is well below the world average. According to the latest edition of the Global Findex which provides data for 2021, only 59 percent of adults in the region have an account. This figure excludes China, where account ownership is much higher, at 89 percent. Notably, there is a significant variance within the region, with account ownership ranging from only 33 and 37 percent of the adult population in Cambodia and Laos, respectively, to 96 percent in Thailand.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to lead the world in mobile money adoption, which is driving financial inclusion in the region. The latest data from the Global Findex 2021 shows that 33 percent of adults in the region have a mobile money account, compared to just 10 percent globally. However, the region remains behind in terms of overall account access. Only 55 percent of adults own an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider, compared to the 71 percent average for developing economies.