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United for Alice®



What is the ALICE Report?

To better understand the growing financial struggles many households face across the state of Illinois, United Way of Illinois launched a statewide research initiative. The ALICE Project—ASSET LIMITED, INCOME CONSTRAINED, EMPLOYED—is a grassroots movement and research initiative that brings together United Ways, foundations, academic institutions, corporations, and other state organizations to present data that can help inform strategies for positive community change.

ALICE represents our neighbors, loved ones, friends, and acquaintances who are living above the poverty line, but do not earn enough to afford the necessities of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology.

While the economy experienced a dramatic recovery following the 2008 recession, with unemployment at some of the lowest levels in history in 2018, the number of Illinois ALICE households continued to increase. The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinois families has not been officially reported, but we know that social service agencies have been overwhelmed since the onset of the health crisis.

35% of Illinois’ Households

are walking a financial tightrope, with incomes that can’t afford the cost of living

  • 35% 35%

53% of Illinois’ Workers

are paid hourly

  • 53% 53%

From 2019 to 2020

The Household Survival Budget increases

14% to $21,960 ($10.98/hourly) annually
for a single adult

  • 14% 14%

16% to $66,264 ($33.13/hourly)
for a family of four with an infant and preschooler.

  • 16% 16%

How is United Way Supporting ALICE?

An Investment of Time, Energy, & Resources in ALICE is an Investment in our Communities

At United Way of Illinois, we believe we can – and must – find ways to help all of our neighbors thrive. ALICE is the backbone of our communities, working hard but often having to face difficult choices to make ends meet such as skipping preventative health care, avoiding healthy food options, not purchasing insurance or being able to save for the future.

The difficult choices ALICE households face not only threaten the individuals forced to make the decisions but can also threaten the strength and vitality of our state. United Way of Illinois and its members across the state must work with local social service providers, business and faith leaders, and our partners in state and local government to address the needs of ALICE.

ALICE In Focus Series

A Spotlight on Key ALICE Groups

Since 2009, United For ALICE has shed light on the everyday struggles of households that are ALICE. The ALICE in Focus Research Series takes this data to a new level, spotlighting the struggles of people in specific ALICE populations, including children, people with disabilities, and military veterans.

Photo of child writing

ALICE in Focus: Children in Financial Hardship (April 2022)

Placeholder image of a Veterans with text "Coming November 2022"

ALICE in Focus: Veterans in Financial Hardship (November 2022)

ALICE Report Resources

2023 Reports

ALICE Report Cover

Download the full ALICE report

2020 Reports

Download the Executive Summary

Download the full ALICE report

Download the COVID-19 Briefing

2019 Reports

Download the Executive Summary

Download the full ALICE report

Click Here to explore data by county

Explore additional ALICE Reports at