Williamsport – The Lycoming County United Way (LCUW), along with United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) and regional partners, released a report that shows that 1.2 million Pennsylvania households earn more than the federal poverty level but still not enough to pay for essentials such as housing, food, transportation, and child care. When the number of households that live below the federal poverty level are added, the result is 1.8 million, or 37 percent, of Pennsylvania households that are struggling to survive.
The ALICE® report, which stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, is an initiative of the Pennsylvania network of United Ways to raise awareness of the challenges faced by working families and to mobilize organizations and individuals who want to support strategies and policies that move ALICE along their journey to financial stability.
“United Way organizations, like ours, across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are committed to understanding the communities we serve. For us to create long-lasting community change, we need to address the underlying causes of the most significant local issues that ALICE faces,” said Ronald Frick, President of LCUW.
“ALICE makes our communities strong and represents a large portion of the purchasing power of households throughout the Commonwealth. We all lean on ALICE for support on a daily basis, and understanding the challenges ALICE faces can help ALICE take steps toward lasting financial stability,” said Frick.
UWP’s report defines the cost of a bare-minimum household budget for each county in the state. Referred to as the survival budget, it is not sustainable, but is a more realistic measure than the federal poverty level. Any Pennsylvanian who is not earning enough to afford the survival budget is ALICE®. Even those who earn more than the cost of the household survival budget are at risk, and the ALICE stability budget is a representation of a
sustainable family budget in the modern economy, with a few extras and a 10-percent savings commitment every month.
Additional data highlights revealed by the research include:
Seventy-five percent of Pennsylvania’s 2,408 county subdivisions, with available data, have more than 30 percent of households living at an income below the ALICE survival threshold.
Only three of Pennsylvania’s top 20 largest-employing occupations pay enough to support the average Pennsylvania family’s household survival budget.
The national inflation rate from 2007-2017 was 22 percent, but the cost of the bare-minimum family budget increased by 33 percent, and the bare minimum single adult budget by 26 percent over that same time period. During that 10-year period, Pennsylvanians' median income increased by only 20 percent.
“ALICE is a lot of hard-working members of communities in Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga Counties who are essential to the fabric and the economy of those community’s economy. ALICE can be a child care worker, nursing assistant, office worker, or retail associate. Our communities would not thrive without the contributions of ALICE,” Frick noted.
The full report, an interactive map, the ALICE experience, and more are available at www.uwp.org/alice.