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New York State United Way ALICE Project: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

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Updated ALICE Report Released September 16, 2018

Download the ALICE NY booklet here

Download the ALICE One Sheet to easily share the information

Visit NY's page at to review:

- Updated ALICE Report for New York

- ALICE Data for every county in New York State

- Household Survival Budgets and Household Stability Budgets for every county in NYS

The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project was initiated by United Way of Northern New Jersey several years ago to bring focus to the families and individuals who work but whose salaries do not provide sufficient resources to meet basic needs.

The ALICE Project developed a methodology using publicly available census, employment, wage, cost of living and other data to help to understand the extent of ALICE in our communities, those who are above the federal poverty level, but below a sustainable wage.

The ALICE Project is now implemented in 18 states, with New York joining in 2016. The 2018 ALICE Report for NY shows the number of ALICE families and children, and single individuals, in each county. It provides a model budget to meet basic needs in each county, along with information about key job categories and other issues that affect the ALICE group. The Report also discusses the challenges that ALICE families and individuals face, and issues that significantly affect them.

The New York ALICE Report is a project of the United Way network in the state. Through the support of 36 local United Ways around the state, and with the generous sponsorship of KeyBank, the State United Way office has contracted with the national ALICE project to perform the research for New York.

More information about the ALICE Project can be found at

New Yorkers Still Face Financial Hardship Despite Increases in Employment and Median Income

Updated ALICE® Report Released by United Way of New York State Reveals Continued Economic Hardship for Working Class New Yorkers

ALBANY, NY – Despite an overall improvement in employment and gains in median household income, the economic recovery in New York State has been uneven, according to an updated report released by United Way of New York State. The 2018 ALICE Report released today details how a large number of New Yorkers, 3.2 million households, or 45% of the overall population, cannot afford basic needs and lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, child care, transportation and health care.

The United Way ALICE Report provides a framework, language, and tools to measure and understand the struggles of a population called ALICE — an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE is a hardworking member of the community and earns above the federal poverty level, yet does not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget, or "household survival budget." The Report then examines how households across the state have fared since the Great Recession ended in 2010.

New York State released its first ALICE Report in 2016 and today released an updated report which shows that many ALICE households continue to face challenges from low wages, reduced work hours, depleted savings, and increasing costs of living. Since 2016, increases in the cost of living have pushed nearly 30,000 households below the ALICE Threshold, defined in the report as the "average income that a household needs to afford the basic necessities defined by the household survival budget for each county in New York."

In addition, the Report finds that ALICE households are not benefitting financially from seemingly positive economic trends. While there has been significant job growth in some areas (i.e. home health aides, teachers aides, personal care aides, retail salesperson), a number of these occupations continue to pay wages that are insufficient to support a basic household survival budget.

"More than four out of 10 working people in New York State live at or below the ALICE survival threshold, sometimes working multiple jobs in attempt to make ends meet," said Ruth Mahoney, Capital Region president and regional retail leader, KeyBank, which was a major sponsor of the ALICE project. "The ALICE Report shines a light on how deep this crisis is, and through KeyBank's support of and partnership with the United Way, we hope to raise awareness and advance dialogue around the understanding that if we want our communities to be stronger, the people who live and work in them need improved pathways to financial stability and the opportunity to thrive."

Other key findings from the updated ALICE Report include:

  • In order to meet the ALICE Threshold for survival, a 4-person household (2 adults, 1 infant, 1 preschooler), needs an annual income of $68,808 or $34.40 per hour. An individual needs an annual income of $23,148 or $11.57 per hour. This is 7 percent higher for single and 9% higher for the 4-person household compared to the report issued in 2016.
  • Fifty-one percent of all jobs in NYS pay less than $20/hour or $40,000 annually for full time work. Even working multiple jobs often does not provide sufficient income to meet the ALICE Threshold.
  • ALICE is everywhere. All but one of New York's 62 counties has 30% or more households earning less than what is needed to afford a basic household budget.

The United Way ALICE Report uses measures to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level. Both the cost of living and job opportunities vary greatly across New York State and this breakdown makes those differences readily apparent. Data sources include the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey.

"The success of a community is directly related to the financial stability of its members and the ALICE report raises awareness about a huge but hidden segment of our community that is struggling," said Brenda Episcopo President of United Way of New York State. "Everyone knows an ALICE. ALICE is your child care worker, your parent on Social Security, the cashier at your supermarket, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk etc… ALICE is essential to our communities' economic well-being and when ALICE is forced to make difficult choices, the entire community faces consequences."

United Ways across the state work with many community partners to provide support to ALICE families by assisting with financial literacy, education and workforce readiness on a daily basis. In addition, United Way of New York State hopes that the ALICE Report will shed light on a growing population in New York State and start conversations about how to help more families achieve financial security. Nine United Way chapters in New York are also administering $16 million in state grants to develop new strategies to combat poverty. The United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral phone number has also assisted more than 400,000 New Yorkers with housing and other human service issues.

About the United Ways in New York United Ways across New York state advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income/financial security, health and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life. Our work is a testament to what we can accomplish when individuals, government, businesses, academia, health agencies, faith-based groups and nonprofits join together in common cause.