Mapping Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Eligibility


CRA Eligibility



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  • Federal Guidlines
    • Additional Federal Guidelines Data
      • CRA Eligibility

CRA Eligibility and Tract Median Family Income Data

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), passed by Congress in 1977, was established to encourage banks to extend credit to low- and moderate-income Americans. CRA requires that financial institutions undergo periodic evaluations to determine whether they are meeting the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Every year, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) releases data on CRA eligibility and tract median family income as a percent of area median family income, and you can find both of these indicators on PolicyMap in the Federal Guidelines tab.

What Makes a Census Tract CRA Eligible?

Tracts are eligible if they are low- or moderate-income, or if they are nonmetropolitan middle-income tracts designated by the FFIEC as distressed or underserved. Low- and moderate-income Census Tracts are based on a comparison of tract median family income to area median family income:

  • Low: tract median family income less than 50% of area median family income
  • Moderate: tract median family income greater than or equal to 50% and less than 80% of area median family income
  • Middle: tract median family income greater than or equal to 80% and less than 120% of area family median income

Any tract with a median family income greater than 120% (shown in dark purple on the map below) is considered upper-income and is not CRA eligible.

While nonmetropolitan middle income tracts that are distressed or underserved are not displayed in the map above, this map of CRA eligibility includes all types of eligible tracts, broken down by reason for eligibility. The census tracts shown in blue are middle-income distressed or underserved areas:

For more information about this data or the poverty and unemployment thresholds used to determine whether a tract is distressed or underserved, see this source list document put out by the FFIEC or, more broadly, the CRA page of the FFIEC’s website.

Use PolicyMap to learn more about which tracts are considered eligible in the CRA evaluation.