understanding the need.


understanding the need.



United for ALICE has released the latest update to the report “Alice in the Crosscurrents.” This new data sheds light on how households faired between 2021 and 2022. While wages have increased, so too has the cost of living, leaving many of our friends and neighbors in precarious financial situations.

United for ALICE

United for ALICE is a grassroots movement led by United Way of Northern New Jersey that sheds light on the struggles of individuals and families who are in precarious financial situations. Since its inception, the ALICE movement has spread to over half of US states, including Washington. The United for ALICE project provides national, state, and local data to paint a comprehensive picture of what it truly takes to get by in a given community.

In addition to funding a network of local nonprofits, United Way of Whatcom County helps to fund this crucial research. The ALICE report provides critical data on why our friends and neighbors are struggling and helps us make informed decisions on where community investments will have the greatest impact.

a logo that says "United for ALICE Washington Partner"

Who is ALICE?

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and describes those who earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, or other necessities in our community. Despite working one or more jobs, ALICE often has to choose between paying for groceries or keeping the electricity on, buying diapers or fixing a flat tire, making rent or filling a prescription.

According to the latest ALICE report, 38% of Whatcom County households struggle to make ends meet. ALICE is your friend, neighbor, or maybe you.

Note: The Federal Poverty Level has increased to $27,750 in 2022. 

The ALICE Survival Budget

While the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) has long been used as a measure of financial hardship, it fails to accurately represent the true cost of living in a given community. Individuals and families who earn more than the FPL may still find themselves unable to make ends meet in the city they call home. These households often find themselves in perilous situations, having to make tough choices to stay afloat.

To help bridge this gap, the ALICE project created the Household Survival Budget. The Household Survival Budget considers the cost basic necessities (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, taxes, and technology) and presents the minimum cost of living within a specific area.

According to the FPL, a family of four would need to make $27,750 to make ends meet. The Household Survival Budget for Whatcom County shows that that same family of four (two adults, two children in childcare) would need to make a minimum of $98,736 to get by in our community*.

Oftentimes, those who may need help in one area (child care, housing, etc.) will need help in other areas, too. Our mission at United Way of Whatcom County is to fund a holistic safety net of critical services to help individuals and families get to a place of stability where they no longer need support.

*Click the link and select “Whatcom County” in the drop-down menu to view the Whatcom County report, or click the red button below.

Key Findings for Washington and Whatcom County

The latest ALICE report, ALICE: In the Crosscurrents, sheds light on how communities faired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the report’s key findings for our state and community:

  • Statewide, nearly 33,000 more Washington households became financially insecure between 2021 and 2022.
  • Racial disparities persist in the rates of financial hardship. 49% of Black, 49% of American Indian/Alaska Natives, 46% of Hispanic households statewide struggle to make ends meet, compared with 33% of white households.
  • Locally, American Indian/Alaska Natives and Hispanic households had among the highest rates of hardship. 48% of Whatcom County AI/AN households and 52% of Hispanic households could not afford basics in 2022.

ALICE Report Resources

​Click the buttons below to learn more about ALICE on a local, state, and national level.

Change a life, give today.

United Way’s network of 25 local nonprofits helps create a community safety net so that ALICE households can become financially stable. Want to make a difference? Donate to the Community Impact Fund by clicking the button below!