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New ALICE Data

Jun/28/18 - Source: United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States | Category: News

June 27, 2018

State Contact: Deann Cook, Executive Director

United Ways of Iowa



Local United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States Contact: Danielle Peterson, President/CEO

United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States



Updated United Way ALICE Report for Iowa reveals 37% of Households Struggle to Afford Basic Needs

Dubuque, Iowa – In Iowa, 457,044 households – 37% of the state’s total – are unable to afford basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, technology, health and childcare, according to the updated United Way ALICE Report for Iowa. This is a 6% increase since the initial report which was released in 2016 that found 31% of Iowa households were unable to meet basic needs.

ALICE, which stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings, and are one emergency away from falling into poverty. ALICE is a look at those who are working and earning but are not able to afford a basic needs budget in the county in which they live. These workers are in “maintainer” jobs that fill needs in our communities including child and senior caregiving, service sector positions, clerical and custodial positions, along with a host of others that we rely on every day. These members of our communities are typically missed in traditional measures of poverty.

The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial needs in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the US Census. The report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Iowa workers are struggling financially, and why. Danielle Peterson, United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States’ President/CEO shares, “Many people believe if someone works hard in our communities, they will be able to support their families, but that isn’t always the case. Working families who live next door to you, who send their children to school with your children, who are sitting in the pew next to you at church, are struggling. They are forced to make some of the most difficult life choices you can imagine. ‘Do I purchase medication for my child or put gas in my car to get to work? Do I repair my car or get groceries this week?’ These questions are asked of ALICE families every day in this community.”

In Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, and Jackson Counties, 11% of the population live below the Federal Poverty Level. The United Way ALICE Report for Iowa shows that on average an ADDITIONAL 36% of those county residents are unable to afford life’s basic necessities despite having income above the Federal Poverty Level designation. These are households earning more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than the very basic cost of living in our community.

“One of the valuable roles of the United Way is to help educate people about community-wide issues,” shares Danielle Peterson. “The Federal Poverty Level seriously underestimates the number of families struggling to survive in our economy. United Way provides this ALICE report to give our community a tool for understanding who struggles, and why, and inform our partner, donor and policymaker conversations and decisions. Since the initial report in 2016, our United Way has used this data to inform our work and while it’s difficult to see the percentage of ALICE homes is rising, it’s even more important to raise awareness of the struggles every-day families face. This impacts all sectors of our lives, including employment, education, health, and so much more.”

The United Way ALICE Report for Iowa provides high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of our communities. The research was led by Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, Ph.D., United Way ALICE Project National Director. Her staff collaborated with a ten-person Iowa Research Advisory Committee which represented a number of Iowa’s colleges, universities, state departments and nonprofits, who advised and contributed to this report.

The presenting sponsor of the 2018 United Way ALICE Report for Iowa is Alliant Energy. “Alliant Energy is proud to partner with United Way on the ALICE Report to identify additional ways to support Iowa families,” said Doug Kopp, President – Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy utility. “We hope this report inspires other businesses in our state to make a difference as well.”

Additional funding for the report was provided by the Iowa Credit Union Foundation.

To view the full Iowa ALICE report, visit www.dbqunitedway.org

United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States connects people and resources to advance the health, education and income of those in need in our community. The organization brings individuals and other groups together around innovative solutions to impact thousands of lives annually. For more information about United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, visit DBQUnitedWay.org .

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