44% OF EASTERN IDAHOANS
STRUGGLE TO MAKE ENDS MEET
We all know people who are ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet do not earn enough to support their own families. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, which have long-term consequences not only for ALICE, but for all.
In order to better understand this growing population, United For ALICE provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to inform policy and drive innovation. United For ALICE is The Research Center — a one-stop source for exploring the latest ALICE data, on a national scale down to the local level in our partner states.
ALICE in Idaho
Between 2007 and 2018, Idaho experienced steady economic improvements according to traditional measures. Unemployment in the state, as well as across the U.S., fell to historic lows, GDP grew, and wages rose slightly. Yet in 2018, 40% of households still struggled to make ends meet. While 12% of these struggling households were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), another 28% were ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These households earned above the FPL, but not enough to afford basic household necessities.
What can we learn from the ALICE report?
United Way’s second ALICE report reveals that despite the rapid growth of our population and distance from the Great Recession, the number of Idaho households with working members who are struggling to make ends meet continues to grow. Today, in every community and in all of Idaho’s 44 Counties, Idaho families are struggling to meet the basic cost of living. All 44 Idaho Counties have at least 1/3 of their households below the ALICE threshold. Some counties have as much as 60% of the population in economic hardship.
ALICE shows us that hardworking Idahoans face complex economic challenges including high cost of childcare, little affordable housing and limited transportation support among many household budget factors.
United Way presents this data to help service providers, elected officials, policy makers and all who care about Idaho families to align and work together to ensure success for all.
A note about ALICE and the COVID-19 health and economic crisis:
The release of this ALICE Report for Idaho comes during an unprecedented crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic. While our world changed significantly in March 2020 with the impact of this global, dual health and economic crisis, ALICE remains central to the story in every U.S. county and state.
The pandemic has exposed exactly the issues of economic fragility and widespread hardship that United For ALICE and the ALICE data work to reveal. That exposure makes the ALICE data and analysis more important than ever. The ALICE Report for Idaho presents the latest ALICE data available — a point-in-time snapshot of economic conditions across the state in 2018.
By showing how many Idaho households were struggling then, the ALICE Research provides the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is having such a devastating economic impact. The ALICE data is especially important now to help stakeholders identify the most vulnerable in their communities, and direct programming and resources to assist them throughout the pandemic and the recovery that follows.
And as Idaho moves forward, this data can be used to estimate the impact of the crisis over time, providing an important baseline for changes to come.