About Us


About Us • Meet ALICE

Essential, Working, Struggling

For a growing number of U.S. households, financial stability is nothing more than a pipe dream, no matter how hard their members work. These households are ALICEAsset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – earning above the Federal Poverty Level yet struggling to afford basic expenses.

ALICE households:

  • Span all races, ages, ethnicities, and abilities, though households of color are disproportionately ALICE
  • Include workers whose wages cannot keep up with the rising cost of goods and services
  • Often include those who are working two or more jobs and still cannot pay their bills
  • Include family members who need care and assistance, which makes it harder for their caregivers to find adequate work
  • Live paycheck to paycheck and are forced to make impossible choices: pay the rent or buy food, receive medical care or pay for child care, pay utility bills or put gas in the car
  • Are part of every community nationwide

ALICE may be your relative, friend, colleague, or neighbor, or you might be ALICE. ALICE may also be your health care provider, teacher, retail clerk, sanitation worker, and others. ALICE workers are the backbone of our economy, with the pandemic making it crystal clear just how much we need them.

ALICE Stories

UWRC 17 Draft 2
United For ALICE® full length version
Families on the Brink
Families on the Brink
Rappahannock United Way
I am ALICE (Lauren)
Rappahannock United Way
I am ALICE (Taylor)
Rappahannock United Way
I am ALICE (ALice)
Providing ALICE® Free Tax Help
From Six Figures to ALICE


The driving force behind United For ALICE is our data and metrics. There were 35 million ALICE households (29%) nationwide in 2018. Combined with households below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), a total of 51 million U.S. households (42%) struggle to make ends meet. When we use data to illustrate the pervasiveness of financial hardship in the United States, we include the following metrics:

  • ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — households with income above the FPL, but below the basic cost of living.
  • Household Survival Budget: The bare-minimum cost of household basics (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan, plus taxes and a small contingency). Calculated at the county level for various household types, including a Senior Survival Budget.
  • ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival: The average income that a household needs to afford the basics defined by the Household Survival Budget for each county.
  • Below ALICE Threshold: Includes both poverty-level and ALICE households — all households unable to afford the basics.
  • ALICE Essentials Index: A national standardized measure of the change over time in the costs of household basics included in the Household Survival Budget

ALICE Movement

Finally, ALICE is a movement representing United Ways, foundations, public officials at all levels of government, businesses large and small, and individuals who want to make a difference in our communities.