United for ALICE




With the cost of living higher than what most people earn, ALICE families have income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but not high enough to afford a basic household budget that includes housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.

The United Way ALICE Report 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.


2020 Report - A Study of Financial Hardships in Maryland

ALICE Reports provide high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of who is struggling in our communities. To produce the ALICE Report for Maryland, our team of researchers collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee composed of experts from across the state. Research Advisory Committee members from our partner states also periodically review the ALICE Methodology. This collaborative model ensures that the ALICE Reports present unbiased data that is replicable, easily updated on a regular basis, and sensitive to local context.

United for ALICE - Washington County ALICE Profile

In order to better understand this growing population, United For ALICE provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to inform policy and drive innovation. The Research Center is the hub of UnitedForALICE.org — a one-stop source for exploring the latest ALICE data, on a national scale down to the local level in our partner states. Use the tabs below to navigate the Research Center.

ALICE & Covid-19 - Understanding the Impact

The ALICE Report for Maryland presents the latest ALICE data available — a point-in-time snapshot of economic conditions across the state in 2018. By showing how many Maryland households were struggling then, the ALICE Research provides the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is having such a devastating economic impact. The ALICE data is especially important now to help stakeholders identify the most vulnerable in their communities and direct programming and resources to assist them throughout the pandemic and the recovery that follows. And as Maryland moves forward, this data can be used to estimate the impact of the crisis over time, providing an important baseline for changes to come. 


Traditional economic measures systematically underestimate the actual cost of basic needs and how quickly they increase over time, concealing important aspects of the local and national economy. To better capture the reality of how much households need to live and work in the modern economy in each Maryland county, United For ALICE provides three basic budgets, each of which can be calculated for various household types:

The ALICE Household Survival Budget​: The minimal estimate of the total cost of household essentials — housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan, plus taxes and a miscellaneous contingency fund equal to 10% of the budget. ​

The Senior Survival Budget: Adjusts the Household Survival Budget to reflect the fact that seniors have lower food costs than younger adults, travel fewer miles for work and family responsibilities, and have increasing health needs and out-of-pocket health care expenses. ​

The ALICE Household Stability Budget: ​Posits a more sustainable budget model that estimates the higher costs of maintaining a viable household over time, including a 10% savings category that can be used in an emergency, for additional education, or to buy a home. 

Household survival budget