Two years ago, Connecticut's United Ways first introduced ALICE in our state. ALICE is a United Way acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - hard working people who still struggle to make ends meet. Ever since, United Ways have been working to "put a face on ALICE" and to lead efforts to help ALICE families achieve financial security in our communities.
ALICE is a large population of residents who have incomes above the Federal Poverty Level but below the cost of living threshold. ALICE is employed but has difficulty affording the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.
The new statewide ALICE Update Report indicates that 38% of households in Connecticut (361,521) are now on a financial tightrope - up slightly (2%) from the amount in the original ALICE Report. However, we have seen positive changes in New London County. The new report calculates an updated "Household Survival Budget" (see chart) specific to our county which amounts to $21,984 for single adults and $68,184 for two adults, an infant, and a preschooler. Click here to view more data specific to New London County.
The new ALICE Report also takes a closer look at ALICE households along demographic lines, and documents the trends impacting ALICE and other struggling households. The report invites fuller consideration of:
- How technology is making some jobs obsolete and creating opportunities in other occupations;
- How the growth in the "gig economy" and on-demand employment impact ALICE workers; and
- How a growing number of Americans are vulnerable to financial shocks or emergencies because they cannot save enough.
The updated United Way ALICE Report also reveals:
- The composition of the ALICE population is men and women, young and old, of all races.
- The breakdown of jobs in Connecticut by hourly wage (51% of jobs pay more than $20/hour) compared to what it costs to survive for a family of four (2 adults, 1 infant, 1 preschooler) - $70,788.
- Every city and town in Connecticut has ALICE households. More than two-thirds of Connecticut's cities and town have at least 1 in 5 households that fit the ALICE definition for financial hardship.
The update ALICE Report recommends both short-term and long-term strategies to help ALICE families and strengthen our communities. Statewide, United Ways in Connecticut has invested more than $8.5 million in child care and early learning; $1.3 million in housing and homeless prevention work; $5 million in basic needs programs; and, have assisted working families in obtaining nearly $40 million in EITC and tax refunds and credits in 2016.
The updated Connecticut ALICE Report was funded by the 16 Connecticut United Ways. The updated report uses data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey to provide tools that quantify the number of households in Connecticut's workforce that are struggling financially.
For more information or to find data about ALICE in local communities, visit http://alice.ctunitedway.org.
For the first time, an online simulator is also available to experience the financial challenges that ALICE households in Connecticut face at www.MakingToughChoices.org.