New Report: Even Before the Pandemic, 38% of Families in Connecticut Struggled to Pay for Basic Needs

Before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived this year, 38% of Connecticut residents were already struggling to make ends meet.

Those are the findings of the Connecticut United Ways’ 2020 ALICE Report, a study on financial hardship. 

The new report concludes that before the onset of the pandemic, 38% of Connecticut’s households lacked the income to pay for necessities such as housing, food, childcare, health care, technology, and transportation. That number includes those families living at or below the federal poverty level and the 27% who live above it but below the basic cost of living threshold. United Way calls these households ALICE, an acronym that stands for, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

The report further demonstrates the now exacerbated economic vulnerability of many Connecticut residents, who, in addition to dealing with longstanding financial challenges, are now also struggling with furloughs, job losses, and an inability to pay bills and provide for their families.  

“ALICE workers are essential to the vitality of our communities. Despite working hard, many ALICE workers are not able to earn enough to keep pace with the high cost of living in Connecticut and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how many families are walking a financial tightrope.” Richard Porth, CEO, United Way of Connecticut

The report uses data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, to quantify the households in Connecticut’s workforce that are struggling in this way.

The 2020 Connecticut ALICE Report takes a deep dive into the growing financial challenges that require more and more families to make tough choices every day as they manage their household budgets. Consider these findings, which were made prior to the pandemic, in the new ALICE
Report:

38% of Connecticut households (513,727) cannot afford the basics of housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation. (This includes both ALICE households and those below the poverty line.)
Despite working hard, 27% of Connecticut households (367,175) have incomes above the federal poverty level but below the ALICE threshold. 
In 148 of Connecticut’s 169 towns and cities, at least 1 in 5 households are below the ALICE Threshold.

It now costs more than $90,000 a year for a family of four with one infant and one toddler to pay for the basic needs in the ALICE Household Survival Budget.

Connecticut’s high cost of living is a big part of the ALICE story, especially for housing and child care.

55% of jobs in Connecticut pay $20 per hour or more, which is among the highest in the country, but only two of the top 20 occupations in Connecticut (in terms of number of jobs) pays enough to support the ALICE Household Survival Budget for a family of four.

52% of workers in Connecticut are paid hourly. These workers are more likely to have fluctuations in income, with frequent schedule changes and variations in the number of hours available for work each week/month. 

Percentage of Households Below the ALICE Threshold By Town
ALICE lives in every town and in city in Connecticut
Before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived this year, 38% of Connecticut residents were already struggling to make ends meet.

Those are the findings of the Connecticut United Ways’ 2020 ALICE Report, a study on financial hardship. 

The new report concludes that before the onset of the pandemic, 38% of Connecticut’s households lacked the income to pay for necessities such as housing, food, childcare, health care, technology, and transportation. That number includes those families living at or below the federal poverty level and the 27% who live above it but below the basic cost of living threshold.

United Way calls these households ALICE, an acronym that stands for, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.
The report further demonstrates the now exacerbated economic vulnerability of many Connecticut residents, who, in addition to dealing with longstanding financial challenges, are now also struggling with furloughs, job losses, and an inability to pay bills and provide for their families.  

“ALICE workers are essential to the vitality of our communities. Despite working hard, many ALICE workers are not able to earn enough to keep pace with the high cost of living in Connecticut and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed just how many families are walking a financial tightrope.” Richard Porth, CEO, United Way of Connecticut.

The report uses data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, to quantify the households in Connecticut’s workforce that are struggling in this way.

2020 Connecticut ALICE Report takes a deep dive into the growing financial challenges that require more and more families to make tough choices every day as they manage their household budgets. Consider these findings, which were made prior to the pandemic, in the new ALICE Report:

38% of Connecticut households (513,727) cannot afford the basics of housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation. (This includes both ALICE households and those below the poverty line.)Despite working hard, 27% of Connecticut households (367,175) have incomes above the federal poverty level but below the ALICE threshold. In 148 of Connecticut’s 169 towns and cities, at least 1 in 5 households are below the ALICE Threshold.It now costs more than $90,000 a year for a family of four with one infant and one toddler to pay for the basic needs in the ALICE Household Survival Budget.

Connecticut’s high cost of living is a big part of the ALICE story, especially for housing and child care.55% of jobs in Connecticut pay $20 per hour or more, which is among the highest in the country, but only two of the top 20 occupations in Connecticut (in terms of number of jobs) pays enough to support the ALICE Household Survival Budget for a family of four.52% of workers in Connecticut are paid hourly.

These workers are more likely to have fluctuations in income, with frequent schedule changes and variations in the number of hours available for work each week/month. 

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