United For ALICE

ALICE couple paying bills

United For ALICE

ALICE: Working Hard Yet Struggling to Make Ends Meet


Who is ALICE?

ALICE, the United Way Acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, refers to:

  • The growing number of individuals and families who work for low wages, lack benefits and paid time off, and often work two jobs - yet struggle to access basic health care, educational opportunities, and secure financial stability.
  • Workers who exist in a gap in the social safety network, which focuses on poverty-level support
  • Families living paycheck to paycheck, making difficult choices between paying bills and feeding their families.
  • ALICE is one emergency away from slipping into poverty.
ALICE is Essential




"Employment growth over the last 10 years in Illinois was largely driven by low-wage jobs that could not keep up with the increase in the cost of the basic household budget."

Household Survival Budget

The bare-minimum costs of basic necessities (housing, utilities, childcare, food, transportation, health care, and a basic smartphone plan) by county.

ALICE Threshold 2024


ALICE Threshold

The average income that a household needs to afford the basic necessities defined by the Household Survival Budget. Households Below the ALICE Threshold include both ALICE and poverty-level households.

How Many Households are Struggling?



Hardship's Disproportionate Impact

Other demographic factors impact struggling families.

Kane County
  • 41% Single female-headed households
  • 38% Black households
  • 47% Latino households
  • 35% Senior Citizen households
Kendall County
  • 41% Single female-headed households
  • 29% Black households
  • 29% Latino households
  • 36% Senior Citizen households

"In Illinois, rising costs in urban areas - notably the Chicago metropolitan area - are largely driven by a decreasing supply of affordable rental units."