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2018 ALICE Report Reveals Regions Economic Hardship

Despite an overall improvement in employment and gains in median household income, the economic recovery in New York State, including Long Island, has been uneven, according to an updated report released by United Way of New York State. The 2018 ALICE Report released today details how a large number of New Yorkers, 3.2 million households, or 45% of the overall population, cannot afford basic needs and lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, child care, transportation and health care.

The United Way ALICE Report provides a framework, language, and tools to measure and understand the struggles of a population called ALICE — an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  ALICE is a hardworking member of the community and earns above the federal poverty level, yet does not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget, or “household survival budget.” The Report then examines how households across the state have fared since the Great Recession ended in 2010.

On Long Island, there are 132,236 households in Nassau County and 170,752 households in Suffolk County that are struggling to afford these basic needs. This equates to 33% of Long Island households falling below the set income threshold needed to live and work.

“Long Islanders are working hard for the wages they earn, but unfortunately those wages might not be enough to cover life’s basic costs,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “These families don’t qualify for federal assistance, and can find themselves needing help from organizations like United Way to recover from an unexpected cost or emergency situation. This ALICE Report highlights the significant difference between income and cost of living, pointing out the need to work toward bringing those numbers closer together.”

New York State released its first ALICE Report in 2016 and today released an updated report which shows that many ALICE households continue to face challenges from low wages, reduced work hours, depleted savings, and increasing costs of living. While there has been significant job growth in some areas (i.e. home health aides, teachers’ aides, personal care aides, retail salesperson), a number of these occupations continue to pay wages that are insufficient to support a basic household survival budget.

Other key findings from the updated ALICE Report include:

Long Island data can be found on pages 59, 60, 103, and 104 of the County Pages document.*

  • 302,988 households on Long Island have incomes below the ALICE threshold budget for survival.
  • In Nassau County, the Household Survival Budget is $89,208 of $44.60/hour for a home with two adults, one infant and one preschooler
  • In Suffolk County, the Household Survival Budget is $97,296 or $48.65/hour for a home with two adults, one infant and one preschooler.
  • Fifty-one percent of all jobs in NYS pay less than $20/hour or $40,000 annually for full time work.  Even working multiple jobs often does not provide sufficient income to meet the ALICE Threshold.
  • ALICE is everywhere.  All but one of New York’s 62 counties has 30% or more households earning less than what is needed to afford a basic household budget.

Long Island Household Survival Budget

Nassau/Suffolk Average

Total Households on Long Island Below ALICE Threshold

302,988

Percent Below ALICE Threshold

33%

ALICE %

26.5%

Poverty %

6.5%

Household Survival Annual Budget (Family of four)

$93,252

Household Survival Hourly Wage (Family of four)

$46.63

Household Survival Budget (Family of four) % increase since 2010

8.9%

Household Survival Annual Budget (Single)

$26,916

Household Survival Hourly Wage (Single)

$13.46

Household Survival Budget (Single) % increase since 2010

3.4%

 

 

The United Way ALICE Report uses measures to provide a more accurate picture of financial insecurity at the state, county, and municipal level. Both the cost of living and job opportunities vary greatly across New York State and this breakdown makes those differences readily apparent. Data sources include the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey.

“The success of a community is directly related to the financial stability of its members and the ALICE report raises awareness about a huge but hidden segment of our community that is struggling,” said Brenda Episcopo President of United Way of New York State. “Everyone knows an ALICE. ALICE is your child care worker, your parent on Social Security, the cashier at your supermarket, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk etc… ALICE is essential to our communities’ economic well-being and when ALICE is forced to make difficult choices, the entire community faces consequences.”

United Ways across the state work with many community partners to provide support to ALICE families by assisting with financial literacy, education and workforce readiness on a daily basis. In addition, United Way of New York State hopes that the ALICE Report will shed light on a growing population in New York State and start conversations about how to help more families achieve financial security. Nine United Way chapters in New York are also administering $16 million in state grants to develop new strategies to combat poverty. The United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral phone number has also assisted more than 400,000 New Yorkers with housing and other human service issues.

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 UnitedWayLI.org, or follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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 nonprofits join together in common cause.