Here, you will find answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) asked about the latest ALICE in Hawai‛i: 2022 Facts and Figures report and overall ALICE Initiative. This page is designed to provide quick and easy access to information that will help you understand the methodology and data provided within the 2022 report.

If you don't find the information you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact Kimo Carvalho, AUW VP of Community Impact, at for further assistance.

ALICE Study Methodology

How does "ALICE in Hawai‛i: 2022 Facts and Figures" differ from previous ALICE reports?
All previous ALICE reports were developed in partnership with the United for ALICE research team using a combination of 14 data sources like the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Through a data formula, the sources produced the Household Survival Budget and population estimates for households above and below the ALICE Threshold, and those in poverty. The 2022 ALICE Report was developed in collaboration with The Bank of Hawai‛i Foundation, United for ALICE, Financial Health Network, and completed by Anthology Research Group. The research team used primary research (vs. secondary like the U.S. Census Bureau data) that applied a mixed-mode approach. 

The decision to collect primary data from Hawai‛i residents was made because the US Census Bureau determined the 2020 Census data did not meet its standards of quality for public release and thus was not available to use by United for ALICE to calculate updated ALICE figures from 2020.  The change also allowed for a unique opportunity for the ALICE Study to include questions from both United for ALICE and Financial Health Network, both of which published studies in 2018 and 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to better learn about the financial impacts and changes that COVID-19 had on Hawai‛i households and financial behaviors. United for ALICE and Financial Health Network researchers both participated to publish the 2022 report, and the research team has determined the sample and methodology allow for comparisons to past reports for both.  

Why is the survey size significant?
The typical minimum sample size for a statewide proportional to population survey is n=400 (sample size of 400 completed surveys), which provides a margin of error of +/-4.90% at the 95% level of confidence. Most surveys in Hawai‛i are between 400 and 1,000 respondents, the latter of which is considered a larger survey. It is rare to have surveys of more than 2,000 individuals that are not commissioned by government.  
The ALICE 2022 Report includes 2,391 completed surveys and is considered one of the largest surveys of Hawai‛i residents by sample size. The benefits of such a large sample size include a more reliable margin of error of +/- 2.00% at the 95% level of confidence, and the ability to review subsets of the data with more confidence (such as neighbor island counties, specific ethnic groups, etc.).

Is the data in the report collected by Anthology or were American Community Survey (ACS) figures also used?The ACS data did not meet standards for public release by the US Census Bureau and thus was not used by the United for ALICE research or Anthology research teams. The 2022 report relies on Anthology Research Group's telephone and online survey data.

Was the survey provided in multiple languages?

No, the survey was only provided in English.

Does “debt” in the report include mortgage payments?
Yes, mortgage debt was considered in this calculation. Additionally, the Financial Health Network questions regarding debt include bank loans, student loans, money owed to people, medical debt, past-due bills, credit card balances, and other household debt identified through the survey.  
How does the cost of food factor into the report?  
The Household Survival Budget includes food costs. The Household Survival Budget estimates in the report were adjusted for inflation and rising costs.  
Is the methodology change in preparing this report going to be permanent and will we have access to a new report every two years? 
The methodology change will not likely be permanent. It was done to address what we hope is a one-time gap in publicly available Census data. In 2023, Aloha United Way will release a standard report based on the United for ALICE methodology and data sources, which will fill in the picture of how ALICE households were impacted before, during, and post-pandemic. Reports based on future US Census data will be available every two years and Aloha United Way, Bank of Hawai‛i, The Hawai‛i Community Foundation and United for ALICE will evaluate if future local data collection efforts may be beneficial and viable in future years. 
Additionally, Aloha United Way and Hawai‛i Community Foundation are this year working with ALICE Initiative Grantees to develop shared metrics demonstrating collective impact and upward economic mobility for ALICE households. Over time, this group seeks to align programmatic data with the ALICE report research to help to measure long term systemic change. 
Will there be a dashboard with regional breakdowns similar to previous ALICE reports?  
Due to the differentiation of this study, we will not be producing a regional dashboard similar to previous years. We will update the dashboard for the 2023 study reflecting 2021 data this year, 2023.

Policy & Programs

How are wages advancing in Hawai‛i and is that the solution for ALICE Households? 
While significant legislative progress was made to increase Hawaiʻi’s minimum wage over the next few years, it is not the sole solution to improve the financial stability and economic mobility for ALICE Households. To achieve greater financial stability, we must address rising costs of living, improve access to credit and affordable housing, and strengthen pathways to so households can generate sufficient savings.  
The ALICE Household Survival Budget is important as it combines information about income with the cost of essentials, and is a key metric to show how a household is managing. The 2022 ALICE in Hawai‛i data show that if a household makes under $75,000 a year, which equates to 2 adults working full-time at $18 hour, there is an 84% chance that the household falls under the ALICE Threshold. The planned minimum wage target for Hawai‛i is closely aligned to the minimum needed to support a Household Survival Budget, and income under this amount makes it very unlikely a household can meet its basic expenses. 
Increasing the minimum wage makes a positive impact for those working in low wage employment, and to increase the financial stability of ALICE households who are employed at or near the minimum wage, there is great opportunity to further advance wages and financial wellbeing through workforce development opportunities for both degree-seekers and trade certifications and to support planning to build stronger and more diverse careers for Hawai‛i.
Improving wages is critical and must be coupled with policy improvements to address Hawai‛i’s benefits cliff so households who begin to earn more are not at-risk of steep benefit losses that result in a net loss of income. Advancing the economic resilience of our community does not solely depend on increasing wages, though it is a factor.
Who is tracking the progress of the ALICE Cohort and the ALICE Initiative?  
Aloha United Way and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation are jointly leading the ALICE Initiative and have contracted independent facilitators to assist with development of shared measures of success. An independent evaluation team is tracking their progress at a collective level.  
Additionally, each grantee partner has an ALICE program demonstrating upward economic mobility and access to affordable housing solutions. These individual programs are also evaluated by the independent evaluation team to track progress. Nonprofit partners are empowered to iterate programs as necessary to fine-tune innovative solutions for ALICE Households. Annual reports will reflect this progress and be available to the public after each report period.  
Are there opportunities for other organizations to be involved in the ALICE Initiative?  
Organizations outside the ALICE Cohort can participate in advocacy, strategic discussions, and investment in the ALICE Initiative. Success of the ALICE Initiative depends on cross-sector collaboration and support of the work both financially and strategically, and Aloha United Way and The Hawai‛i Community Foundation will continue to expand the ALICE Initiative to include substantial involvement from interested community based, business, and government sector partners. To be kept informed or become involved in this work, email us.  
How can the state enact policies that limit the negative impact of a fair or poor credit score in terms of access to housing and utilities? 
Good credit is a gateway to building assets and wealth. Credit counseling and programs that support financial health and planning are part of the recommended approach to help an individual, and further work is needed to improve the credit system and its impacts as well, and ALICE households would benefit greatly legislation that supports more equitable credit scoring models to mitigate systemic inequity. Some possible approaches include legislation that limits reporting debt incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, placing limits on reporting negative medical debt, and reducing the amount of time negative information can remain on a credit report.  
What are immediate actions or policy changes that will mitigate the downward slide of ALICE Households and achieve more resilience?  
The 2022 ALICE in Hawai‛i report data very clearly show the risk a household will fall from ALICE into poverty from one financial crisis, such as an unexpected emergency cost or loss of income. Policies that strengthen and expand safety net supports so a household can weather a short-term financial emergency is one direct and impactful change that can be added to the State’s safety net programs.  
Additional Hawai‛i state benefits cliff reforms should also be considered to support those who may begin to lose federal or State benefits policy improvements so households who begin to earn more are not at-risk of steep benefit losses that result in a net loss of income and make a household worse off financially.  
Additionally, policies that create greater access to equitable lines of credit and financial services can make a greater impact on the stability of ALICE Households.  
Policies aimed at stabilizing housing and access to housing for local residents are also a focus of the ALICE Initiative. 


What AMI group do ALICE Households fall under? 
The Area Median Income is a measure produced by the Hawai‛i Community Development Authority that factors income and asset limits only. While annual Hawai‛i AMI tables are often used to qualify households for State benefits and essential services, ALICE provides a deeper picture into a household’s situation because it includes estimates on its essential costs such as taxes, healthcare, transportation, food, childcare, and housing, as well as income. 
Because the ALICE Household Survival Budget is more comprehensive and factors expenses against income, it does not align neatly to AMI, and households with the same AMI may in fact be facing very different financial situations.  
There is opportunity to connect eligibility for public benefits to an ALICE household measurement, and may be useful to help address some limitations of Hawai‛i’s Area Median Income schedules, which can contribute to the risk of a serve benefits cliff for a household if used as a cut-off point for eligibility. 
How does Hawai‛i compare to other states?  
As of December 2022, the United for ALICE network has 28 active partner states and comparisons are available for both how Hawaiʻi stands nationally and compared to other partners. The comparison varies depending on the metric, and data can be obtained here.  
How are HCF and BOH involved in this report?  
Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and Bank of Hawaiʻi Foundation have been long-time financial supporters of the ALICE Initiative. In 2022, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation partnered with Aloha United Way to lead the ALICE Initiative to increase investment in the ALICE Cohort from 2022-2024.  
The Bank of Hawaiʻi Foundation has invested in the AUW ALICE Fund over the next three years and generously commissioned the most recent report, ALICE in Hawaiʻi 2022: Facts & Figures. Significant additional support and investment in the ALICE Initiative is being provided by HMSA, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, Locations Foundation, and AUW Women United.
Is there additional information that has not been aggregated for household composition and race/ethnicity?  
Additional information with neighbor island breakdowns can be found here.  
How does this data compare to the estimates previously reported?  
Estimates provided during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic placed those below the ALICE Threshold at 59% and were based on a snapshot in time in 2020. The most recent data indicates an increase in the percentage of ALICE Households since 2018, but a reduction and partial recovery since the height of the pandemic’s financial impacts.  
How can my organization be involved in the ALICE Initiative?  
If you would like to be involved in community discussions, strategic planning, advocacy on issues affecting ALICE households, or future opportunities as an investor or grantee, please email us.  
What is next for the ALICE Initiative?  
Please subscribe to our ALICE Initiative eNewsletter to receive updates about the Hawai‛i ALICE Initiative, opportunities to partner and support, and the latest findings and research produced through both the ALICE Cohort and our United for ALICE Research partners.