Key Terms

Household Survival Budget: The bare-minimum costs of basic necessities (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan).

ALICE Threshold: The average income needed to afford the Household Survival Budget. Households below the ALICE Threshold include both ALICE and poverty-level households.

ALICE: Households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living.

Poverty: Households earning below the Federal Poverty Level

Total Households: The number of households as reported by the American Community Survey.

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Research Center


We all know people who are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — earning more than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford the basics where they live.

ALICE households and households in poverty are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent — choices that have long-term consequences not only for their families, but for all.

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ALICE Data + Indicators of Well-Being

Having a low income is often associated with lower levels of education, higher rates of unemployment, and poorer health. Communities that have been able to disrupt these associations can provide important insights into how to change environments or policies to support ALICE households. Tracking relationships between ALICE households and other variables at state and county levels can also help stakeholders ask important questions and target resources where they can have the greatest impact.

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The maps below show the percentage of households below the ALICE Threshold (poverty + ALICE) — households that cannot afford the basics in the communities where they live— along with additional indicators of well-being.