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October 11, 2016

Report: CT households still struggling to make ends meet

More than one in four individuals in Connecticut households work while earning less than what is needed to thrive financially, according to the latest United Way ALICE Report.

Two years ago, United Way introduced ALICE, which stands for - Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed - to place a spotlight on a large population of residents in Connecticut, a wealthier state, who are working, but have difficulty affording the basic necessities.

ALICE and poverty households combined account for 38 percent of households in the state that struggle to make ends meet. A total of 361,521 Connecticut households fall into what the study describes as the ALICE population. These households earn more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. This is more than 2.5 times the number of households that fall below the federal poverty level.

Other findings include:

In the Connecticut towns assessed, Hartford has the highest percentage, 74 percent, of total households living in ALICE households or poverty conditions.

Among the largest nine cities and towns, Hartford has the greatest percentage, 75 percent, of households living below the ALICE threshold. Milford has the least, at 32 percent.

Average monthly costs for basic needs have increased 14 percent between 2007 and 2014. A single adult’s monthly expenses are $1,888, while a family of four’s is at $5,899. Annual income is below $70,788 for a family of four and $22,656 for a single person, according to the study.

Among the data sources for the report are the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey.

Every city and town in Connecticut has ALICE households. More than two-thirds of Connecticut's cities and towns have at least one in five households that fit the ALICE definition for financial hardship.

United Way recommends various strategies for improving the status of ALICE households, includes things like temporary housing and transportation assistance from family and friends, nonprofits and employers in the short term. Longer-term fixes may include loans, job training and higher wages.

The agency works with many community partners to provide support to ALICE families to help them get through a crisis and avoid a downward spiral into even worse circumstances such as homelessness as well as assisting with financial literacy, education and workforce readiness.

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