United Ways across the state recently released an update to the groundbreaking A.L.I.C.E. Report first issued in November 2014. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – a household with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. In 2014, United Ways in Connecticut, along with United Ways in four other states, released state-specific reports to put a face on working families who struggle financially. Two years later United Ways in 15 states are now reporting on ALICE in their states. You can read the short Executive Summary here. To download a copy of the full report click here.
Since the release of the initial ALICE Report in 2014, there is some good news – 49% of jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20 per hour compared to 51% in the initial report. The not-so-good news is that at $20 per hour, a full-time job grosses about $40,000 per year, which is 57% of the annual income needed for survival by a family of four in our state.
The updated ALICE Report found that one of the most significant trends is that low-wage jobs, especially those in the service sector, are increasingly shifting away from traditional full-time employment with benefits towards part-time, on-demand, or contingent employment with fluctuating hours and few benefits. Coinciding with this, workers are replacing or supplementing their traditional jobs with a new gig-to-gig, project-to-project work life – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, etc.
Add to this the high probability that technology will replace more and more jobs currently held by ALICE workers such as cashiers, office clerks, food prep workers and retail sales. Low-wage workers, especially those with lower levels of education, are among those most at-risk of not finding employment in the new technology-based employment arena. Further, the jobs that are not forecast to be replaced with new technology will be low wage service jobs that cannot be automated such as janitors, health aides, child care workers and laborers.
There is some also some good news in the report for the Valley area. The Valley is doing slightly better than the state as a whole. The Valley’s poverty rate is at 9% compared to 11% for the state. However the Valley’s ALICE population is 28% which is one percent higher than the state average. That means that 37% ov Valley residents are still struggling.Click on the graphic on the right to see a quick summary. Click here to see the Valley’s summary from 2014.
Ensuring quality, affordable child care so ALICE households can work and know that their children are off to a good educational start that will serve them well throughout their lives is an investment United Ways are making every day for our families. This combined with income supports such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, free tax preparation sites, and job training are the investments United Ways in Connecticut are making for ALICE’s future.