Have You Met ALICE?

Have You Met ALICE?

You may not know it, but the answer is yes. In fact, you know many ALICEs.

ALICE is a United Way acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The term ALICE stems from an in-depth study conducted by United Way in eighteen states, Ohio included. The ALICE study worked to uncover the true number of households struggling, over and above those who live in poverty. The study challenged existing methods for measuring “poverty” and revealed a problem far more serious and prevalent. The results shed light on the actual number of households who do not earn enough to afford a bare bones household budget. Before this study, ALICE was a population and community issue without a name or face. 

A Total of 33% of Lake County Households Struggle to Afford Basic Needs

ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living. Combined, the number of poverty and ALICE households equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs. Sadly, the number of ALICE households in Lake County far exceeds Lake County’s low federal poverty statistics. 
  • 9% of Lake County households live in poverty* while a significant 24% fall within the ALICE threshold.** The combined total of 33% represents the total of all Lake County households living below the ALICE Threshold. These are the households struggling to survive. 
ALICE represents the hardworking men and women who get up each day to go to work, sometimes working two to three jobs, but still cannot make ends meet. The consequences of insufficient household income are devastating:
  • Adults and children go without needed medical care, dental care, and medication 
  • Families are unable to put food on the table 
  • Households go without heat and electricity 
  • Jobs are lost due to an inability to afford transportation and gas
  • And these are just a few of the challenges our friends and neighbors in need face
ALICE is your child care worker, mechanic, home health aide, store clerk, the cashier at your grocery store, office assistant and more - all workers essential to you and our community's success.  
When funds run short, people must decide between paying for things like quality child care and rent, electricity and food, and filling a gas tank or a needed medical prescription. The stress can be unbearable, especially when an unexpected expense like the breakdown of a car or a water heater comes into play. These unpredictable expenses can send a family over the edge. The short-term decisions these ALICE families are forced to make have long-term consequences not only for them, but for all of us.

How We are Working to Change the Odds for ALICE Households

The success of our Lake County community is directly related to the financial stability of these fragile ALICE households. A gift to United Way of Lake County impacts lives and makes a difference.


*Poverty in Lake County percentage based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, July 1, 2023 (V2023).
**ALICE Source: ALICE in Ohio 2023 Report - United Way ALICE & Poverty in Lake County in 2021. Based on 2021 Point-in-Time-Data. Information on ALICE and the reports can be accessed here. For information specific to our county, select Lake County from the drop down menu and the data will appear on the lower half of the page.