Who Is ALICE?
Our Essential Workforce
ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) is a term United Way coined to describe households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to make ends meet. Much more than an acronym, ALICE is the essential workforce we rely on every day — from the child care worker to the grocery store clerk to the delivery person to the home health aide. Despite working – often at more than one job – these individuals and their families remain just one paycheck away from financial disaster.
When COVID-19 hit, 27% of New Jersey households were ALICE and an additional 10 percent earned below the Federal Poverty Level. The unprecedented dual health and economic crisis of the pandemic has undoubtedly caused the percentage of these households to rise.
Every day, ALICE households are faced with impossible choices, a reality only exacerbated by the pandemic: buy groceries or pay the rent; get the car repaired or see a doctor; stay home with the children during the shutdown or keep working for much needed income and benefits. Juggling work and other responsibilities takes an especially big toll on households that have no cushion for emergencies.