60% of Low-Income Households Lost Earnings vs. 40% of Higher-Income Households During Pandemic, According to New COVID-19 Report

Low-income households reported losing employment income at a markedly higher rate during the pandemic — 60% — in comparison with a 40% rate for middle class and high-income households, according to a new report released today by the United Way-backed movement United For ALICE.

The Pandemic Divide explores four national surveys through the lens of the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival, the minimum income needed to live and work in today’s economy. 

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents households that earn more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than what it costs to make ends meet.

Combined with those in poverty, these struggling households accounted for 51 million households nationwide as the pandemic hit.

The report uncovers these households fared significantly worse during the pandemic than those with higher incomes – as reported in surveys conducted between March 2020 and May 2021 by the U.S. Census, Federal Reserve Board, University of Southern California and United For ALICE.

Even with government supports, ALICE households reported higher levels of job loss, child care struggles, and health challenges than those earning an income that affords the basics, according to the report. Racial inequities also are evident, with Black and Hispanic households reporting even harsher experiences.

“When you dig deeper than the national average, which paints a somewhat optimistic picture of COVID-19 recovery, it’s clear that ALICE households travelled a much more difficult path – financially and emotionally,” said United For ALICE Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D.

Read the full press release and report at: UnitedForALICE.org/covid2019

United For ALICE is a driver of research and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all.

Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged.

Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state and national levels.

This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to 24 states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations. For more information, visit: UnitedForALICE.org. 

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