ALICE Project

WHO IS ALICE?

  • With the cost of living higher than what most people earn, ALICE families – an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – have income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but not high enough to afford a basic household budget that including housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.
  • The United Way ALICE Project provides a framework, language, and tools to measure and understand the struggles of the growing number of ALICE households in our communities.
  • This research initiative partners with state local United Ways such as those in Maryland, to deliver research-based reports that can stimulate meaningful discussion, attract new partners, and ultimately inform strategies that effect positive change.

Scroll down to the links to ALICE reports.

CORE STATISTICS

Nearly half of all Washington County households are ALICE.

  • In Maryland, 743,738 households – fully 35 percent – struggled to afford basic household necessities like housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation despite working hard.
  • Every county in Maryland has 30 percent or more households that are unable to afford life’s basic necessities. 
  • Despite the combination of ALICE’s wages and some public assistance, ALICE households still face an average 15 percent unfilled income gap to reach financial stability.
  • Because government assistance expenditure is increasingly composed of health care spending, which cannot be transferred to meet other needs, there are larger gaps in the areas of housing (45 percent) and child care (54 percent).

WHY UNDERTAKE THE ALICE STUDY?

  • The federal poverty rate is commonly regarded as inadequate for measuring the true scope of financial need in the country.
  • United Way believes in a research-based model in order to fully understand and best respond to the needs of our communities. We want to understand the causes of the problems, not just the end results.
  • We sought to provide objective, comprehensive data that can be used for serious policy planning in every arena.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE ALICE STUDY?

  • There is significantly greater need than the typical portrait painted of Maryland, with its median income of $73,971 and 10% poverty rate.
  • We often don’t know who is struggling. That’s why this report is such a critical tool. It helps identify those who are having difficulty making ends meet in every community across Maryland, and better understand the obstacles they face.
  • ALICE is a vital part of our community. We are all interconnected and our success depends on ALICE’s ability to reach his or her potential. ALICE is not going away; he/she is here to stay.
  • There is a systemic problem that will not be solved with a magic bullet – policymakers, academics, business and social service agencies need to work together to address long-term systemic change.
We all know ALICE. Following are links to several reports that will help the community gain a better understanding of ALICE:
 

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