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United Way Report on the Trends Impacting Long Island Working Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet

United Way ALICE® Report: State’s working poor labor force is growing

Families and individuals across New York state, including those living on Long Island, are lacking sufficient income and resources for housing, food, child care, transportation and health care, according to a report released today by United Way of New York State. On Long Island, 31 percent of households in Nassau County and 39 percent of households in Suffolk County fall below this income threshold.*

In the last two years, United Ways in 16 states have participated in ALICE, which stands for – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – to place a spotlight on a growing population of residents who are working, but struggle to afford basic necessities.

“Long Islanders work extremely hard and still are unable to afford life's basic necessities," said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. "This report on ALICE individuals and families highlights the need to examine the unbalance between income and the significantly higher cost of living in our region compared to the national average, and to work towards reducing this gap."

“Our report shows that this is not an urban or rural issue – it affects every corner of our state,” said Brian Hassett, CEO of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region. “Too many New Yorkers find themselves above the poverty line but below the economic line that allows them to provide health care and educational advantages for their children, and to save for their own future.”

The report uses data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, to provide tools that quantify the number of households in New York’s workforce that are struggling financially. The New York ALICE Report was funded by the 38 United Ways in New York State and KeyBank with assistance from IBM.  To read the report and view state and municipal data on the size and demographics of ALICE households and to learn more about how this financial hardship affects ALICE families and our communities, visit http://UnitedWayALICE.org/NewYork.  The case-sensitive password is LiveUnitedNY.  

*Long Island data is shown on pages 243, 244, 266 and 267.

The ALICE Report reveals:

  • 267,894 households on Long Island have incomes above the poverty level but below the ALICE threshold budget for survival.
  • In Nassau County, the Household Survival Budget is $80,940 or $40.47/hour for a home with two adults, one infant and one preschooler.*
  • In Suffolk County, the Household Survival Budget is $90,324 or $45.16/hour for a home with two adults, one infant and one preschooler.*
  •  2.1 million households in NYS have incomes above the poverty level but below the ALICE threshold budget for survival.  With an additional 1.1 million households below the poverty line, 44% of New York households can no longer afford all of life’s basic necessities:  food, shelter, child care, transportation and health care.
  • From 2007 to 2014, the cost of housing, food and health care in New York far exceeded the rise in salaries, thus increasing the number of ALICE households. The report’s town-by-town breakdown shows that ALICE exists statewide among all age groups, household types, and racial and ethnic groups.

ALICE families face a variety of challenges:  low-wage jobs located far from their homes (with the attendant rise in transportation costs); and having few or no assets to cushion the cost of an unexpected health emergency or caregiving need, and limiting the opportunities for their children.

The New York ALICE Report provides an analysis of how many households are struggling in every town, and what it costs to pay for basic necessities in different parts of the state (Household Survival Budget).

United Ways work with many community partners to provide support to ALICE families to help them get through a crisis and avoid a downward spiral into even worse circumstances such as homelessness as well as assisting with financial literacy, education and workforce readiness.

The ALICE Report recommends both short-term and long-term strategies to help ALICE families and strengthen our communities. The ALICE Report will be used by United Ways around the state, in conversation with our many partners and supporters, to understand ALICE’s circumstances better, and find better ways to help ALICE. 

TO READ THE FULL REPORT and view state and municipal data on the size and demographics of ALICE households and to learn more about how this financial hardship affects ALICE families and our communities, visit http://UnitedWayALICE.org/NewYork.  The case-sensitive password is LiveUnitedNY.  *Long Island data is shown on pages 243, 244, 266 and 267.

         

About United Way of Long Island

United Way of Long Island advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, financial stability and health.  We recruit people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done.  LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change.  United Way of Long Island is part of a worldwide network spanning across 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. For more information about United Way of Long Island, please visit www.UnitedWayLI.org, Facebook or Twitter

About the United Ways in New York

United Ways across New York state advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income/financial security, health and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life.  Our work is a testament to what we can accomplish when individuals, government, businesses, academia, health agencies, faith-based groups and human service nonprofits join together in common cause. 

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