Lower-Income Households and the Life Insurance Marketplace: Should We Be Concerned About Declining Participation?

Historically, life insurance has played an important role in helping protect household incomes and facilitate saving. However, household participation in the life insurance marketplace has declined for decades. This declining participation is reflected in the modest ownership of life insurance policies by low- and moderate-income (LMI) families. The central questions this paper raises are how concerned we should be about this modest life insurance ownership and what steps, if any, we should take to increase LMI household participation in the life insurance marketplace.