ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed)
ALICE is our neighbor who is Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (or retired) and living on the edge. ALICE may be a college student; a recent grad who is working and paying off tuition debt; a young family struggling to pay for child care so they can work; the underemployed working less than full-time and without benefits; active duty military personnel; a family caregiver; or a senior on a fixed income struggling with health issues.
Bottom line is that ALICE individuals and families living in Hunterdon County struggle every day to make ends meet. Yet ALICE works in jobs that are essential to the county’s economy.
Why does ALICE struggle?
1. Income is falling behind the cost of living
Did you know it costs a household with two adults and two young children ~$76,000 to barely get by in Hunterdon County? That translates to an hourly wage of $36.56 - far above the average wage in Hunterdon County!
2. The available jobs are low-paying despite providing essential services to Hunterdon County
ALICE works in occupations we all depend on. However, more than 50% of jobs in Hunterdon County pay less then $20/hour. These jobs will account for 75% of new jobs over the next decade.
3. Rising housing costs
The US government definition of “affordable housing” is for a household to pay no more than 30% of its annual income on housing costs. In Hunterdon County, 17,316 households (36%) pay more than 30% of their income on housing, seriously compromising their ability to afford the basics of self-sufficiency. On the Economic Viability Dashboard housing affordability in Hunterdon County ranks 45 out of 100 points - poor. Read more about the state of housing in the 2014 Hunterdon Housing Report.
4. ALICE struggles to pay for essentials, has no savings, and must make tough choices
ALICE does not plan to have a crisis. With little or no savings, without the help of temporary assistance, ALICE does not have means to overcome things like:
Medical emergency – personal or family
Data Sources: U.S. Census & American Community Survey data; U.S. Bureau of Labor; New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development; Poverty Benchmarks: Legal Services of NJ; Monmouth Opinion polls; News reports