ALICE in Focus: Children

 

For the first time, ALICE research and interactive dashboards are available for kēiki specifically. Why is this important? While all previous research has focused on ALICE households, the individuals within each very different household configuration were left undocumented. Now, data specifically addressing household composition, access to healthcare, internet access, ethnicity, public assistance and more is available. 

Utilize the Data

The research and interactive dashboards will enable nonprofit agencies and policymakers alike to address specific shortfalls and identify areas like affordable housing, child tax credits, and childcare to convene for greater impact. The report and dashboard are part of a growing toolkit that Aloha United Way offers to the community. This new findings and dashboard will also fuel the ALICE Initiative cohort, collectively working toward better access to safe & affordable housing and greater financial stability & savings for ALICE Households. The cohortʻs collective impact work combined with better data and tools for all community stakeholders is key to solving problems in the long-term. 

Undercounted and Unsupported

The reality is that 139,492 children in Hawai‘i — 47% of all children — lived in a household with income below the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival in 2019. Given inflation and pandemic impacts, this number has likely grown. These households included families in poverty as well as those who were ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households don’t earn enough to afford the essentials of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, a smartphone plan, and taxes — the basics needed to live and work in the modern economy. There are children below the ALICE Threshold in communities across the state (PUMAs), at rates ranging from 16% in eastern Honolulu/Kapahulu, to 55% in Hawai‘i, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui counties, to more than 63% in rural O‘ahu.

 
The number of children growing up in financial hardship in Hawai‘i has been systematically undercounted. For decades, policymakers and community stakeholders have relied on the outdated Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to understand the extent of financial hardship in their communities. According to the FPL, 12% of children in Hawai‘i (35,307) lived in poverty in 2019. Yet United For ALICE data shows that another 35% (104,185) — almost three times as many — were also growing up in hardship, in households that earned above the FPL but not enough to afford the basics in the communities where they lived.
 
The reality is that 139,492 children in Hawai‘i — 47% of all children — lived in a household with income below the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival in 2019. These households included families in poverty as well as those who were ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households don’t earn enough to afford the essentials of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, a smartphone plan, and taxes — the basics needed to live and work in the modern economy. There are children below the ALICE Threshold in communities across the state (PUMAs), at rates ranging from 16% in eastern Honolulu/Kapahulu, to 55% in Hawai‘i, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui counties, to more than 63% in rural O‘ahu.
 

Dashboard, Data & Other Resources

The ALICE Children Data Dashboard, to dig deeper into related topics, demographics, and sub-state geographies

• Resources related to children and financial hardship, including the references linked in this Research Brief, as well as additional resources that offer important context and even deeper analysis

The Pandemic Divide: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys (2021) and other resources on the ALICE and COVID-19 webpage, to see the impacts of the pandemic on ALICE

On Uneven Ground: ALICE and Financial Hardship in the U.S. (2020), to learn about the trends that contributed to a growing number of ALICE households even before the pandemic

The ALICE Wage Tool, to explore wage levels by geography and occupation

The Benefits CLIFF Tool to navigate benefit cliffs that often impede financial stability

If youʻd like to dig deeper into poverty and benefit access levels by District, you can do that here.