ALICE, a United Way acronym which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.
Through a series of new, standardized measurements, United Way, with its research partner Rutgers University, is quantifying the size of the workforce in each state that is struggling financially, and the reasons why. These measurements provide a broader picture of financial insecurity than traditional federal poverty guidelines.
Why ALICE Matters
ALICE workers are essential to the fabric of our society. ALICE works in jobs that are integral to our communities, from child care educators and home health aides to mechanics – all workers we rely on every day.
The future success of our communities is directly tied to the financial stability of ALICE households. When ALICE suffers and is forced to make difficult choices, we all face serious consequences.
The United Way ALICE Report reveals information such as:
- The average income needed in order to survive on Florida’s Central West Coast depends on local conditions and ranges from $37,000 (DeSoto) to $54,000 (Pinellas) annually for a family of four, more than double the official U.S. poverty rate.
- Affordable, quality housing and childcare represent a major financial challenge for ALICE families as the combined expense represents between 47 percent (Hillsborough and Pasco) and 59 percent (DeSoto) of a monthly family survival budget depending on location.
- ALICE is men and women, young and old, of all races, closely mirroring the state’s basic demographic make-up. 38 percent are within their prime earning years of 45 to 64 years old, leading to increased financial risks as they exit their working years.
- Florida faces an economy dominated by lower-paying career options. Only 31 percent of jobs in Florida pay more than $20 an hour. Most jobs pay between $10 and $15 per hour, and this economic condition is not projected to change in the foreseeable future.
“The ALICE study provides a new lens through which leaders, governments, employers and non-profit organizations can view our community,” said Philip A. Brown, president of United Way of Manatee County. “As we prioritize, make policy decisions, consider plans for the growth and development of our communities – in both the short- and long-term – the ALICE report allows us to take into account how many of us are ALICE and below, and permits our decisions, policy considerations, and rigorous dialogue and debate to be better informed knowing that ALICE exists and that ALICE is all around us.”
United Way is focused on providing the basic foundation in the areas of education, financial stability and health to help ALICE and those in poverty gain access to opportunities to improve their lives and for the long-term benefit of the wider community.