United Way's Study of Financial Hardship

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 standardized measurements, United Way 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 – hard working individuals that we rely on every day.

ALICE: A Grassroots Movement

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. Building on a project first initiated in 2007 at United Way of Northern New Jersey, United Ways in five other states – California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana and Michigan – joined the United Way ALICE Project in 2014. Together, these states represent more than 25% of the country’s population.

This grassroots movement is gaining momentum in local communities across the country and several new reports are in development. With significant press coverage, a fresh, nonpartisan dialogue has started about the importance and fragility of ALICE families across the country. United Ways involved plan to use the reports as the framework for their work in improving their residents’ lives and strengthening their communities. Community partners, including government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations are also making use to this new data to improve the lives of ALICE families.