The Gender Gap in Financial Outcomes: The Impact of Medical Payments
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute, May 2017
16 Pages Posted: 16 May 2017
Date Written: May 10, 2017
In this report, the JPMorgan Chase Institute compares the financial outcomes of accounts held by women versus men and examines changes in these outcomes that result from an extraordinary medical payment. The JPMorgan Chase Institute assembled a de-identified data asset of roughly 210,000 de-identified Chase checking account customers between 2013 and 2015, for whom we could infer gender and categorize at least 80 percent of expenses. We organize our results into five findings. First, we find that while most primary account holders were men (54 percent), low-income primary account holders were more likely to be women. Second, there was a gender gap in financial outcomes — women exhibited roughly 20 percent lower levels of income, spending, and liquid assets, and slightly higher credit card debt burden than men. Third, across both men and women, roughly one in six account holders made an extraordinary medical payment in any given year, but these payments represented a higher fraction of monthly take-home income for women than for men. As in the JPMorgan Chase Institute general population, women who made an extraordinary medical payment were in a weaker financial position than men to withstand such a payment. Fourth, immediately before making an extraordinary medical payment, women exhibited a larger increase in liquid assets relative to men, suggesting that they were more likely than men to delay a medical payment until they were able to pay. Finally, a year after the extraordinary medical payment, the gender gap in financial outcomes had worsened, leaving women with significantly more revolving credit card debt than men. These findings underscore the importance of efforts to address the gender gap in financial outcomes and reduce debt burdens for women. In addition, extraordinary medical payments have negative impacts on financial outcomes, and this is especially true for women.
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