More and more families are finding out that a dollar does not go as far as it used to, and proof of that came in a recent report released by The United Way.

More and more families are finding out that a dollar does not go as far as it used to, and proof of that came in a recent report released by The United Way.

The United Way’s ALICE Project took a comprehensive nationwide look at what it costs to live in each county and each state in the country in order to understand the struggles faced by a growing number of households.

According to the report, ALICE (which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) “represents the growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care.”

Since 1965, the Federal Poverty Level has been the standard for determining the number of people living in poverty in the U.S. Although the FPL provides a nationally recognized income threshold for determining who is poor, the measure is not based on the current cost of  basic household necessities and is not adjusted to reflect cost of living differences across the nation.

ALICE Project research­ers compiled data from each county in each state on household budgets, demographics, employment opportunities, housing affordability, public and private assistance, and other economic factors. In this way, ALICE paints an accurate picture of the nation’s economy and how individuals and families are faring.

The ALICE Project used four measures to determine how many households can actually afford basic necessities.

The ALICE Threshold represents the minimum income level necessary to survive  based on the project’s Household Survival Budget.

The ALICE Household Survival Budget is an estimate of the total monthly cost of household essentials  which include housing, child care, food, transportation, technology, health care, and a 10 percent contingency. The Household Survival Budget was calculated separately for each county, and for six different household types.

The ALICE Housing Stock Assessment calculated the number of housing units in a county that ALICE and poverty-level households can afford compared with the demand for affordable units. These include rental and owner-occupied units, both government subsidized and market-rate.

The ALICE Income Assessment measures how much income households need to reach the ALICE Threshold, how much they actually earn, how much public and nonprofit assistance is provided to help these households meet their basic needs, and how far these households remain from reaching the ALICE Threshold.

Nationally, between 32 and 49 percent of households do not meet the ALICE Threshold.

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