There are 474,445 households unable to pay for the costs of basic household needs in Connecticut, according to the United Way ALICE Report released today by Connecticut United Ways.
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ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed; Study of Financial Hardship places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work hard, but still struggle to make ends meet. For some, this means not being able to save for their family’s future or to weather an emergency without falling into poverty. The Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey. The Report unveils new tools based on income levels and expenses, that quantify the number of households in Connecticut’s workforce that are struggling financially. And the ALICE Report also seeks to analyze in more detail why many working families continue to struggle.
A total of 332,817 Connecticut households fall into what the study describes as the ALICE population. These are households earning more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. This is more than double the number of households that fall below the federal poverty level. ALICE and poverty households combined account for 35 percent of households in the state that struggle to make ends meet.
“We all know ALICE,” said Richard Porth, President and CEO of United Way of Connecticut. “ALICE is the young family strapped by child care costs and the mid-career professional now underemployed. ALICE is the recent college graduate who is struggling to find a job that pays enough to enable them to pay off their student debt and live on their own, and ALICE is the retired couple whose nest egg was hurt by the recent recession. ALICE households are vital to our state’s economic well-being, and they face barriers beyond their control that keep them from achieving financial stability, not to mention pursuing the American Dream.”
Connecticut United Ways joined with United Ways in five other states to commission statewide ALICE Reports from United Way of Northern New Jersey and Rutgers University-Newark, School of Public Affairs and Administration. The Connecticut ALICE Report provides analysis of how many households are struggling in every town, including the obstacles ALICE households face on the road to financial independence.
“This report provides the objective data that explains why so many residents are struggling to survive and the challenges they face in attempting to make ends meet,” said the report’s author, Rutgers University Assistant Research Professor Stephanie Hoopes Halpin. “Until now, the true picture of need in local communities and states has been understated and obscured by misleading averages and outdated poverty measures.”
The United Way ALICE Report reveals:
- ALICE is men and women, young and old, of all races, corresponding fairly closely to the state’s overall demographic make-up.
- Even with one of the country’s highest median hourly wages, 51 percent of all jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20/hour ($40,000/year if full-time).The average annual income needed by a family of four (2-adults with 1-infant and 1-pre-K child) in order to survive in Connecticut is $64,889. This is more than double the official U.S. poverty level.
- Every city and town in Connecticut has ALICE households. More than two-thirds of Connecticut’s cities and towns have at least 1 in 5 households that fit the ALICE definition for financial hardship.
The ALICE Report recommends both short-term and long-term strategies to help ALICE families and strengthen our communities. United Ways work with many great community partners to provide short-term support to ALICE families to help them get through a crisis and avoid a downward spiral into even worse circumstances such as homelessness.
And United Ways stand ready to build on their traditional strength promoting civic/community engagement and convening people from all walks of life to have constructive community conversations, informed by the ALICE research in the report, about long-term strategies to address the challenges of growing financial hardship.
United Way is focused on promoting beneficial community impact in the areas of education, financial stability, health, and basic needs to help improve the lives of both ALICE and those in poverty, for the long-term benefit of these families and the wider community.
The Connecticut ALICE Report was funded by the sixteen Connecticut United Ways.
For more information or to find data about ALICE in local communities, visit http://alice.ctunitedway.org/