United Way's Study of Financial Hardship
There are nearly 923,000 Hoosier households unable to afford the basics of housing, food, health care, child care and transportation despite working hard according to the United Way ALICE Report released by Indiana Association of United Ways.
ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed; Study of Financial Hardship places a spotlight on hardworking residents who have little or no savings, and are one emergency from falling into poverty. The Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using the latest data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census, Internal Revenue Service and Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The ALICE Report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses, that quantify the number of working people struggling financially in Indiana, and why.
A total of 570,000 Hoosier households fall into what United Way calls the ALICE population. These are households earning more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. Combined, ALICE and poverty households, account for 37% percent of households in the state. This number is more than double the official poverty rate. “ALICE is our child care worker, our retail clerk, the CNA who cares for our grandparents, and our delivery driver. When we know who ALICE is, we can think more clearly about the kind of help and support that will make a difference in his or her life,” says Kathy Ertel, Board Chair of Indiana Association of United Ways.
United Ways in six states commissioned Rutgers University-Newark to conduct the ALICE research. United Way ALICE Reports provide county-by-county, city-level or township-level data and analysis of how many households are struggling, including the obstacles ALICE households face on the road to financial independence.
The United Way ALICE Report reveals:
- More than 1 in 3 Hoosier households cannot afford the basics of housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation, despite working hard.
- In Indiana, 37% of households live below the ALICE threshold – 23% are above poverty but below the basic cost of living; about 14% live below the federal poverty level.
- There are over 570,000 ALICE households in Indiana, more than double the official poverty rate.
- All counties in Indiana have more than 21% of households living below the ALICE threshold.
ALICE often is forced to make choices that compromise health and safety in order to make ends meet, putting both ALICE and the wider community at risk of long-term societal and economic repercussions.Indiana’s United Waysplan to use the ALICE report as an educational tool, creating localconversations about possible responses. This is a grassroots movement among United Ways to stimulate a fresh, nonpartisan national dialogue about the growing population of families living paycheck to paycheck. This effort grew from a project first initiated in 2009 at United Way of Northern New Jersey. Beginning this year, some 200 United Ways in these six states plan to use the reports as the framework for their work in improving their residents’ lives and strengthening their communities.