Income / Wealth

Getting to Know ALICE

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

ALICE workers...

  • Educate our children
  • Keep us healthy
  • Make our quality of life possible

But they...

  • Do not earn enough to support their families
  • Must make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent

In New Jersey, 37% of households could not meet their basic needs in 2018. That’s 1.2 million households that could not afford the basics, including housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology.

Socioeconomic Factors

  • 15% of children in NJ live in poverty
  • 3% of the population, aged 16 and older, are unemployed and seeking employment
  • 8.7% of New Jerseyeans (nearly one million people) are food insecure
  • 49% of all jobs in New Jersey continue to pay less than $20 per hour

Food Insecure New Jerseyans

  • 670,000 New Jerseyans are on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps and receive an average of $142 per month to feed their families.
  • 1 in 15 New Jersey workers benefit from SNAP
  • 1 in 3 food insecure New Jerseyans make too much money to qualify for SNAP
  • 219,760 children in the Garden State go to bed hungry
  • 200,000 older adults do not have enough to eat
  • 1 in 5 Community College students are hungry

22% of households in the state struggle with:

  • Overcrowding
  • High housing costs
  • Lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities

While 90.9% of New Jersey residents graduate from high school, this rate drops for vulnerable populations.

ALICE Measures

The ALICE Household Survival Budget is the bare minimum cost of household basics necessary to live and work in the modern economy in each county.

Accounts for:

  • Housing
  • Child care
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Health care
  • Technology
  • Taxes + 10% contingency fund

The ALICE Senior Survival Budget adjusts the Survival Budget to reflect reduced spending on:

  • Food: seniors eat less than younger adults
  • Transportation: seniors travel fewer miles for work and family responsibilities

and increased spending on:

  • Health care: seniors have increased health needs. Their spending outpaces the benefits offered by Medicare.

The ALICE Threshold

Represents the average income needed in each county to afford the basics defined by the Household Survival Budget.

The ALICE Essentials Index

Is a national measure that tracks the increase in costs of specific basic necesseties and can be seen as a companion to the Consumer Price Index, which covers all goods and services people buy regularly.

The Economic Benefits of Equity Analysis

Quantifies the benefits of raising the income of all households to the ALICE Threshold.

What United for ALICE is Doing

Producing Reports

The ALICE Reports provide unbiased data that is replicable, easily updated on a regular basis, and sensitive to local context.

Each ALICE Report contains data on household budgets, demographics, employment opportunities, housing affordability, public and private assistance, and other critical economic factors.

The ALICE methodology is reviewed biennially by outside experts and each state Report is supported by an independent Research Advisory Committee of local data and subject-matter experts.

Leading a Learning Community

United for ALICE facilitates a forum for sharing experiences, developing best practices, and building broader impact and fundraising strategies.

The network of stakeholders who care about ALICE participate in sessions to learn and share new ideas, policy innovations, and best practices with each other.

Inspiring Action

The ultimate goal of this project is to stimulate action that will improve the financial stability of ALICE families and their communities.

Local United Ways involved in this effort are forging new relationships with community partners, educators, corporations, and government officials to identify opportunities and build strategies that support ALICE.

The ALICE data has been widely used in the education, government, nonprofit, health, policy, and research arenas to better understand local economic conditions and the demographics of our communities.


Food Insecurity and Housing Data

Graduation Rates Data

ALICE infographic

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