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Dekalb County Household Income
Family Hourly Wage
Single Hourly Wage

What is ALICE?

ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and represents the growing number of families who are unable to afford the basics of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology. These workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin, while keeping our local communities running.

Learn more about how ALICE came to be, here.


Who is ALICE?

ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) may be a relative or friend. You may be ALICE. As cashiers, waiters, child care providers, and other members of our essential workforce, ALICE earns just above the Federal Poverty Level but less than what it costs to make ends meet. These struggling households are forced to make impossible choices each day. While such hardship is pervasive, households of color are disproportionately ALICE.

ALICE also represents the data reshaping the dialogue on financial hardship, and a grassroots movement that is picking up steam across half of U.S. states - and counting.

NIU Report logo

ALICE Focus Group Report

The Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) at Northern Illinois University, conducted focus groups via Zoom in April 2023, with ALICE household members living in DeKalb County for the Kishwaukee United Way. The purpose of the focus groups was to gain a broad understanding of the challenges ALICE households face and their needs.

ALICE households:

  • Span all races, ages, ethnicities, and abilities, though households of color are disproportionately ALICE

  • Include workers whose wages cannot keep up with the rising cost of goods and services

  • Often include those who are working two or more jobs and still cannot pay their bills

  • Include family members who need care and assistance, which makes it harder for their caregivers to find adequate work

  • Live paycheck to paycheck and are forced to make impossible choices: pay the rent or buy food, receive medical care or pay for child care, pay utility bills or put gas in the car

  • Are part of every community nationwide

ALICE Report Graphic
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