United for ALICE® 

ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford a bare-bones household budget.

For far too many families, the cost of living outpaces what they earn. These households struggle to manage even their most basic needs - housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, and necessary technology.

When funds run short, cash-strapped households are forced to make impossible choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, filling a prescription or fixing the car. These short-term decisions have long-term consequences not only for ALICE families, but for all of us.

Who is ALICE?

Despite the critical nature of many jobs to keep our local economies running – educating our youngest children, keeping our ailing parent safe – these workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin.

ALICE is your child care worker, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk. ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.

ALICE in Virginia

VA ALICE NumbersIn 2018, eight years after the end of the Great Recession, 39% of Virginia’s 3,169,804 households still struggled to make ends meet. And while 10% of these households were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), another 29% — almost three times as many — were ALICE households: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These households earned above the FPL, but not enough to afford basic household necessities. 


What Does the ALICE Report Do?

  • Produces Current Research: Through state Reports with regular updates and Alice Report Coverspecial subject reports, the Project provides the highest quality, unbiased data at the local and national level. It is presented in a way that is easy to understand and make actionable for businesses, government, nonprofits, academia, the press, and citizens.
  • Leads a Learning Community: The vibrant ALICE Learning Community provides a forum for participants to learn from each other and share best practices on a range of issues from presentation materials to legislative strategies. It also provides opportunities to dive deeper into the research, seek funding together, build on pilot programs, and partner on projects with a national scope.
  • Builds Action: Armed with knowledge, best practices, and community partners, the ultimate goal of the report is to stimulate action that will improve the financial stability of ALICE families. The Project identifies opportunities and works with local United Ways, community partners, and government officials on grant proposals and other impact opportunities.



2023 Virginia ALICE Report

Released in May 2023, the report ALICE in the Crosscurrents: Covid and Financial Hardship in Virginia details how pandemic support temporarily blunted the financial crisis for ALICE families, yet warning signs are on the horizon. Local data can be found using the interactive website:

Download the 2023 Virginia ALICE Report

View the 2023 National ALICE Report HERE.


 2021 Report Pandemic Divide

A report released by United Way’s of Virginia called The Pandemic Divide: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys, explores four national surveys through the lens of the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival, a report that illustrates the minimum income needed to live and work in today’s economy. 

Download the 2020 ALICE Report