Alice: Struggling to Survive

28% of Households in NJ
Can’t Afford Basic Needs

Alice: Struggling to SurviveThe United Way of Northern New Jersey has released its 2014 Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Report.

The report finds that for a growing number of New Jersey households, the struggle to survive has become a way of life. Every day, families make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care and paying the rent.

According to the latest United Way of Northern New Jersey ALICE Report, 1.2 million households in New Jersey are unable to afford the state’s high cost of living. That number includes those living in poverty and a population called ALICE.

Based on 2012 data, the ALICE Report found that:

  • Nearly 890,000 households, 28% of the state, qualified as ALICE two years after the formal end of the Recession, up from 723,000 ALICE households (23 percent) at the start of the Recession in 2007.
  • More than half, 53%, of all jobs in New Jersey pay less than $20 an hour, or $40,000 annually.
  • 31% of ALICE households are within prime wage-earning years of 45 to 64 years old.
  • More than three-quarters, 85%. of New Jersey’s 560 towns have 20% or more households struggling to survive.

And in its coverage of the release of the ALICE report, the Star-Ledger reports that 11% of New Jersey households fall below the Federal Poverty Line which is $22,811 for a family of four. But with the cost of living added in, the same households need an annual income of $61,200 just to cover their basic needs.

The Star-Ledger told the story of one ALICE household headed by a single mother in Montclair.

“Every day, Kim Ticehurst walks a financial tightrope.

A single mother in Montclair, Ticehurst lost her job in the construction industry in January. At 50, she has decades of experience in project management, planning, organization and design, but the scores of resumés she has submitted have been met with no response.

“’t’s a horrible feeling,’ she said last week. ‘You definitely confront times when you’re like ‘how do I get through this day?’”

ALICE households represent men and women of all ages and races who are working, but unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. They are child care workers, mechanics, home health aides, and office assistants – workers New Jerseyans cannot live without.

The ALICE study provides county-by-county and town-level data; cost of living calculations for six family size variations; analysis of how many households are living paycheck to paycheck; and the implications for New Jersey’s future economic stability.

Click here for more information and a link to the full report.

Click here for the Star-Ledger’s coverage of the report’s release.