WHO IS ALICE?

 

DID YOU KNOW - out of 118,702 households in Escambia County, 34% struggle to pay for basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology? Statewide, 46% of households face the same financial challenges. In Escambia County, the number of low-income workers struggling to cover essentials grew by 7% between 2010 and 2016.

These struggling Floridians are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed or ALICE. They are households earning above the poverty line but not enough to cover the most basic of needs like food and housing. Even in affordable communities, across the board increases in everything from childcare to health care plague a family’s ability to save or buy a home despite holding down a 40-hour-a-week job.

“We started a movement five years ago to raise awareness about these families who work and want to provide for their families,” said United Way of Florida President Ted Ganger. “Through the efforts of our local United Ways and their partners, we can develop simple, fiscally conservative solutions that would have an immediate, positive impact on families.”

In Escambia County, the cost of basic household needs increased steadily, outpacing the rate of inflation and wage growth. The cost for a family of four to meet basic needs rose 6% annually and 8% monthly, these costs rose 14% annually and 14% monthly for a single adult. Compared to Florida where the cost rose 20% per family and 12% for a single adult.

“There is enormous value in this data,” said United Way of Escambia County President & CEO, Laura P. Gilliam. “It really paints an accurate picture of the working families struggling to get by in our community.”

This struggle materializes at a rate of $26.48 per hour – what it takes a household of four in Escambia County to survive the associated costs of living.

“The people reflected in this study are working and providing direct services in our community every day,” Gilliam stated. “The fact that this population has grown, despite the perceived growth of our community, shows that there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Local Snapshot:

  • The biggest drivers of cost increases for families since the end of the recession are health care (14.5%) and taxes (23%).
  • Of local municipalities, Pensacola Census County Division (CCD) had the largest percentage increase in total ALICE and poverty population at 6%, followed by Northwest Escambia CCD at 3%, and Cantonment CCD at 2%.

Florida is one of 18 states that have ALICE reports published. For town- and county-level ALICE data or to find county-by-county survival and stability budgets for six family sizes, visit UnitedWayALICE.org/Florida.