Nearly 32% of Local Households Struggling to Make Ends Meet 

July 8, 2020 (Deer Park) – The release of United Way’s ALICE in New York: A Financial Hardship Study, 2020 Report for New York comes during an unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The Report details how 45% of New York State residents lack sufficient income and savings to pay for housing, food, transportation, technology, childcare and healthcare. The data exposes how many New York households were struggling before the pandemic, providing the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is currently having such a devastating economic impact.  

United Way’s ALICE Report provides the 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 working member of the community who earns more than the Federal Poverty Level, but does not earn enough to afford basic necessities. These households earn too much to qualify for government assistance and often there is no room in their budgets for emergency expenses. 

The 2020 ALICE Report for New York further indicates the hardship that ALICE families will continue to face - an upward trend in low-wage jobs, an increased fluctuation in work hours and schedule, combined with depleted or no savings result in a lack of financial stability. Furthermore, the inequality gap in income and wealth, which was exacerbated by the pandemic, will continue to grow.   

On Long Island, there are 130,599 households in Nassau County and 171,921 households in Suffolk County that are struggling to afford their basic needs. This equates to 31.5% of Long Island households falling below the set income threshold needed to live and work, or Household Survival Budget. 

Other key findings include: 

In Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the average Household Survival Budget for a home with two adults and two school-age children is $85,482 or $42.72/hour. 

In Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the average Household Survival Budget for a single person is $34,044 or $17.02/hour. 

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. 
The ALICE Report raises awareness about a significant but hidden segment of community members who are struggling and provides a foundation to understand the challenges they face. The report also underscores that whether or not a community thrives directly relates to the financial stability of its members. 

Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island, offers examples of ALICE as a child care worker, parent on Social Security, cashier at the supermarket, salesperson at a local store, waitress, home health aide or office clerk. ALICE is essential to our communities’ economic well-being and when ALICE is forced to make difficult choices, the entire community faces consequences.  

She states, “At United Way of Long Island, we remain committed to helping our neighbors support themselves and their families throughout the year, especially during times of crisis. Through career training, emergency financial assistance, prescriptions savings and scholarships, as well as connecting residents to additional resources, we are helping ALICE families achieve stability.” 

The United Way ALICE Report, first issued in 2016 and since published every other year, 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 American Community Survey, Office of New York State Comptroller and the U.S. Department of Labor. 

If you are in need of assistance, contact 211 Long Island for information and referrals related to support services. All calls are confidential and service is available in multiple languages. Dial 2-1-1, or outside of Nassau and Suffolk Counties 1-888-774-7633 and visit 211longisland.org. 211 Long Island operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

To read United Way’s ALICE in New York: A Financial Hardship Study, 2020 Report for New York, visit www.unitedwayli.org/ALICE2020. 

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. 

About United Ways in New York State 
United Ways in New York 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. 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.