Aloha United Way - ALICE 2021 COVID Report

United for ALICE has released a new report (October 2021) that sheds light on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted ALICE households across the country. There are several key takeaways for Hawai‘i’s community. 
 
According to survey and data analysis, 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. For Hawai‘i, a state heavily dependent on service and tourism jobs, the loss of employment was staggering. The impact of job loss, both temporary and permanent are referenced in the report as a hard blow to already suffering ALICE households. 
 
The Pandemic Divide: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys 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. To calculate wages needed to make ends meet, use the UNITED for Alice Wage Tool
 
The report uncovers that households below the ALICE Threshold 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 support in play, households below the ALICE Threshold reported higher levels of job loss, childcare struggles and health challenges than those earning an income that affords the basics, according to the report’s analysis. In addition, racial inequities are evident within the data. Those identifying as American Indian/Alaskan Native/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AIAN/H/PI) experienced the highest percentage of job loss among all reporting ethnic groups. The AIAN/H/P below-ALICE Threshold Households also reported the highest presence of significant health issues by race and ethnicity. AIAN/H/P households reported at 73% and when this number is combined with job loss, resulting lack of healthcare coverage and fragility in the wake of a pandemic, it’s clear that Hawai‘i’s people have suffered greatly as a community. 
 

Download THE PANDEMIC DIVIDE: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys