ALICE Study reveals NJ Has Slightly Below National Average of Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Families
On May 18, 2018, NJ.com reported that according to the ALICE Study “An estimated 41 percent of Garden State households are considered among the ‘working poor’, meaning they struggle to afford basic necessities like food, healthcare, transportation and housing.”
Last week, the United Way published an updated study titled ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) which identifies households that earn too much money to qualify for federal housing assistance, yet make too little money to afford the basic needs.
According to the United Way, as the rate of inflation has risen in New Jersey, the cost of living for ALICE families has nearly doubled. New Jersey’s ALICE families are not unique in the problems that they face. The day to day struggles of poor households are not just a problem for New Jersey, but throughout the United States. The new ALICE numbers dispel the myth of the recovery from the last great recession.
Stephanie Hoopes, an author of the ALICE Study, said, “There’s a sense of frustration or even anger because people are being told that they’re doing better but they aren’t.”
Although there is a wide disparity among New Jersey’s counties, at least 27% of the population in each county in New Jersey is considered an ALICE household. Cumberland county ranks among the counties with the highest number of ALICE households 61%, with Passaic (53.5%) and Essex (52.0%) following.
Overall, New Jersey is below the national average estimate of 43% of ALICE households. Although it may seem that the state is not too far away from the national average, this statistic is unacceptable for a state that is considered one of the wealthiest in the United States.
In fact, “millennials in New Jersey are more likely to live with their parents than in any other state,” according to an analysis by NJ Advance Media.
Working poor families do not only struggle with affording basic needs, but have little to no savings. This makes it difficult for the aging population to save enough money for retirement and also makes it difficult for families to afford large costs such as a college education.
On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Opportunity Starts at Home.