ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.
The ALICE population is made up of individuals and families who earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living specific to our local area. 


We all know people who are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE earns more than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford the basic cost of living where they live. ALICE workers are employed, yet they often do not earn enough to meet monthly expenses. Without additional income to put away for savings, ALICE households are often one financial crisis away from disaster. 

ALICE is often a hidden population. Households below the ALICE threshold usually do not qualify for governmental aid or social service programs, so their struggles go unseen and unknown. The ALICE data highlights the challenges of people living below the ALICE threshold. United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County strives to make our community a place where individuals and families have the tools to move from crisis to survival to sustainability.    

Chances are, you already know ALICE. Our neighbors who live below the ALICE threshold may be child care providers, home health aides, mechanics, retail workers, service providers, store clerks, office assistants, or other members in your community. ALICE can be in any stage of life and ALICE can be an individual or a family. Some households fall below the ALICE threshold due to an unforeseen life event such as a life-altering health diagnosis,  job loss, or family crisis such as a death or divorce.

Consequences of Insufficient Household Income

The Consequences of Insufficient Household Income report takes a deeper dive into the choices that people across the country who are living below the ALICE threshold make when they do not have enough income or assistance to afford basic necessities, and the consequences of those choices.

This report is meant to inform a variety of policy solutions that can improve the lives of ALICE families in every state. United Ways are joined by policymakers, government employees, nonprofits, academic institutions, and community organizations that are using the ALICE data to better understand the struggles and needs of their employees, customers, and communities, and to discover innovative approaches that improve life for everyone in our communities.

Significant Impacts on Black Households

Financial Hardship in Black Households: The ALICE Data. Poverty and racism have been inextricably connected since this country’s inception, yet official federal statistics have never fully portrayed the economic impact of that link. United For ALICE was founded on the need to more accurately measure and track financial hardship nationwide. For more than a decade, the research has been shedding light on the disparity of economic opportunity that exists in every community, in every state.

The data show that while hardship is pervasive, the history of slavery and its ongoing legacy of systemic and institutional racism stigmatizes Black households uniquely. In every state, the research unequivocally documents the persistent and widening disparities in income and wealth between Black households and households of other races and ethnicities.

If you have questions or would like a presentation of this information to your group, business, or organization, please contact Jo Benjamin.

Watch the Story

Click on the videos below to watch the stories of two ALICE families who are struggling to make ends meet.