ALICE represents those who are working but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. ALICE is your child care worker, the cashier at your supermarket, the salesperson at your big box store, a home health aide, an office clerk.
ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet do not earn enough to support their own families. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, which have long-term consequences not only for ALICE, but for us all.
In 2018, 45% of Northern New York’s households struggled to make ends meet.
While 16% of these households were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), another 29% — nearly twice as many — were ALICE. These households earned above the FPL, but not enough to afford basic household necessities.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic and hardships it has created have caused more families to become ALICE and have made life even tougher for those who were already ALICE.
United Way’s ALICE Report provides better measures and language to describe the population that is struggling financially, and the reasons why. These measurements provide a broader picture of financial insecurity than traditional federal poverty guidelines.
You are about to put yourself in the shoes of a typical ALICE family. ALICE families are those that have earnings above the Federal Poverty Level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. In other words, they are struggling to make ends meet. Despite working hard and holding important jobs in our state, nearly half of Northern New York families are ALICE; combined with those in poverty, 29% of North Country households is experiencing financial hardship.
For the next few minutes, you’ll experience some of the tough choices that ALICE households have to make every single day and learn about the commitment United Way of Northern New York has made to help ALICE families through our partnerships with nonprofits in each county in Northern New York.
The ALICE Report provides an accurate snapshot of each county in our state. The report assesses the economic environment in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties in the following areas: housing, childcare, food, transportation, healthcare, technology, miscellaneous and taxes. The expenses are added together to understand the monthly and annual expenses for each household. Data from 2-1-1 helps us see how many people in our community struggle.
The data then presents the hourly wage for a single adult, two adults, a family with two school-age children, a family with two children in childcare, a single senior, and two seniors living together. By reading through this report, you’ll understand so much more about the struggles of ALICE.