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See Our Impact


New NJ ALICE Report

When COVID-19 hit, the number of New Jersey households already one emergency away from financial ruin had grown by 41 percent over the last decade — paving the way for the pandemic's devastating economic impact, according to the latest ALICE Report for New Jersey. 


Read the report and view interactive graphics here to learn how ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households live paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford the basics for survival. The latest report shows ALICE was locked out of the boom economy post-recession as the cost of basics rose faster than pay raises, making it impossible to set aside savings for an emergency. A total of 1.2 million households or 37 percent in New Jersey were in financial distress in 2018 when both families in poverty and ALICE are counted.

Square Button NJ ALICE Report

Help us help ALICE

More than ever, the new ALICE Report is a call to action. For more than a decade, our United Way has been sounding the alarm about the growing number of working households that were being priced out of survival, vulnerable to financial devastation with one emergency.

You can join us in saying: Going back to normal is not good enough. United Way is working toward a future where ALICE workers can afford to save for an emergency, access health care, and give their children the right start in life. We are committed to this work because we believe that by securing racial and economic equity for ALICE, we can improve life for all in New Jersey. Can we count on you?


ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of families who are unable to afford the basics of housing, food, child care, health care, technology, and transportation. Despite working hard, ALICE lives paycheck to paycheck and is one emergency away from falling into financial ruin.

The term ALICE was coined in 2009 when United Way of Northern New Jersey set out to understand the struggles of one New Jersey county. Since then, this grassroots movement — known today as United For ALICE — includes United Ways, corporations, and foundations in 21 states and is changing the national dialogue about financial hardship.

Home Health Aide and Man



Why ALICE Matters

ALICE essential workers are integral to our community. We rely on ALICE workers every day — from the child care educator to the grocery store clerk to the delivery person to the home health aide.


But what happens when cash-strapped ALICE households are forced to make impossible choices such as deciding between a car repair or quality child care, heat or a prescription? These short-term decisions have long-term consequences not only for ALICE, but for all of us.

ALICE In New Jersey

In New Jersey, 1.2 million households were already struggling to afford the basics even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. These ALICE and poverty-level families were living one crisis away from financial despair and that crisis is now.

ALICE households represent men and women of all ages and races who are unable to afford the basics. Their overstretched paychecks cannot keep pace with a cost of living that continues to skyrocket. To read our 2020 ALICE Report for New Jersey and view interactive graphics, click here. To read about the Report's top findings click here.



While 37% of all households in New Jersey do not earn enough to cover basic expenses, systemic racism has led to disproportionate rates of Black households facing financial instability. More than half of Black households — 52 percent — are unable to afford the basics for survival, which is nearly twice the rate among White households in New Jersey. Click here for a deeper look at our data documenting financial hardship among Black households.

Using a standardized methodology, United For ALICE assesses the cost of living in every state, providing a comprehensive look at financial hardship throughout the country that is more accurate than traditional federal poverty guidelines. Through this data, United For ALICE is helping to give ALICE a national voice.

ALICE Across The U.S.

While we first placed the spotlight on ALICE in New Jersey, the challenges faced by these households extends beyond state borders. Struggling ALICE households can be found in every state — in wealthy suburbs, big cities, and small towns.

ALICE Single Mother WA
Pile of Newspapers

ALICE In The News

Since shining a spotlight on ALICE households in one suburban county in 2009, we have gone on to raise awareness of struggling families throughout the state. See below for some key news highlights. For more stories about our work, click here.




United Way Fights For ALICE

The success of our community depends on the financial stability of ALICE. Through our work, United Way of Northern New Jersey is helping to ensure a future where ALICE can achieve racial and economic equity. Because when ALICE succeeds, we all win.


20 Preschoolers get books to boost literacy


12 ALICE families receive free tax prep and filing services


One month of preschool for an ALICE family


Home technology for 5 family caregivers to help better manage work and caregiving responsibilities


10 unemployed ALICE workers impacted by the pandemic receive emergency assistance to pay bills

We are inspiring others to fight for ALICE

Through raising funds and awareness, United Way is helping those in the community who are facing financial insecurity despite working sometimes two jobs and still not affording basic necessities.

– C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers University women’s basketball coach, Basketball Hall of Fame member, and United Way of Northern New Jersey Women United honorary chair

Group of Hand in Circle

United Way of Northern New Jersey

222 Ridgedale Avenue

Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927


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©2021 United Way of Northern New Jersey. All Rights Reserved.  


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, food, child care, health care, technology, and transportation. These workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin, while keeping our local economies running.