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United Way of Northern New Jersey, LIVE UNITED
United Way of Northern New Jersey-ALICE

Our Work » ALICE


For a growing number of New Jersey households, the struggle to survive has become a way of life. Every day, families make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care and paying the rent.

According to the latest United Way of Northern New Jersey ALICE Report, 1.2 million households in New Jersey are unable to afford the state’s high cost of living. That number includes those living in poverty and a population called ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

Based on 2012 data, the ALICE Report reveals that nearly 890,000 households (28 percent of the state) qualified as ALICE two years after the formal end of the Recession, up from 723,000 ALICE households (23 percent) at the start of the Recession in 2007.

ALICE households represent men and women of all ages and races who are working, but unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. They are child care workers, mechanics, home health aides, and office assistants – workers New Jerseyans cannot live without.

The ALICE study provides county-by-county and town-level data; cost of living calculations for six family size variations; analysis of how many households are living paycheck to paycheck; and the implications for New Jersey’s future economic stability. Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • More than half – 53 percent – of all jobs in New Jersey pay less than $20 an hour, or $40,000 annually.
  • Some 71 percent of ALICE households are white, and 31 percent are within prime wage-earning years of 45 to 64 years old.
  • More than three-quarters (85 percent) of New Jersey’s 560 towns have 20 percent or more households struggling to survive.

ALICE across the country

The release of the first ALICE Report two years ago in New Jersey sparked a grassroots movement among United Ways in California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Michigan, which are releasing ALICE Reports specific to their states in the coming months. For more Alice Report 2014information about all of the ALICE Reports, visit

ALICE is a real and significant population; by ignoring ALICE, we risk the future well-being of all our communities. Please join us in raising awareness about ALICE and continuing the dialogue among community leaders about how, together, we can provide ALICE an opportunity to succeed. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

PDF Icon PDF   Download the 2014 United Way ALICE Report to learn more about this population and their daily struggles.

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