Working Long Island Families Face Financial Hardship
Updated ALICE® Report Released by United Way of New York State Reveals Continued Economic Hardship for Working Class New Yorkers
WHO IS ALICE?
ALICE is 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 ALICE REPORT OF NEW YORK
The United Way ALICE Report provides a framework, language, and tools to measure and understand the struggles of the ALICE population. New York State released its first ALICE Report in 2016 and in 2020 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. 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.
2020 ALICE REPORT KEY FINDINGS
- 31.5% of Long Island households fall below the set income threshold needed to live and work, which equates to130,599 households in Nassau County and 171,921 households in Suffolk County that are struggling to afford these basic needs.
- 302,520 households on Long Island have incomes below the ALICE threshold budget for survival.
- In Nassau County, the Household Survival Budget is $84,528 of $42.26/hour for a home with two adults and two school age children
- In Suffolk County, the Household Survival Budget is $86,436 of $43.22/hour for a home with two adults, and two school age children
- 51% 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.
ALICE - NASSAU & SUFFOLK COUNTY AVERAGE
|Total Households on Long Island below ALICE Threshold||302,520|
|Percent below ALICE Threshold||31.5%|
|Household Survival Annual Budget (Family of Four)||$85,482|
|Household Survival Hourly Budget (Single)||$42.74|
|Household Survival Annual Budget (Single)||$34,044|
|Household Survival Hourly Budget (Single)||$17.02|
“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.”
“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 Mary Shaheen, Vice 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.”
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.
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 211 information and referral phone number has also assisted more than 400,000 New Yorkers with housing and other human service issues.