United for ALICE®

Our ALICE population represents hardworking people we interact with every day, who have a job — or two or three — yet cannot afford basic necessities to remain stable and self-sufficient. ALICE are doing everything they can to make ends meet yet struggle to get by each month.

42% of Hawaiʻi’s population are ALICE or below. 33% are living just above the federal poverty level and are often unable to survive even a minor financial challenge. There are few substantial programs in place to help or prevent ALICE from slipping into poverty. An additional 9% are living in poverty.

The 2020 AUW ALICE® Report indicates there has been no improvement since 2010 in the number of ALICE in Hawaiʻi despite steady economic improvements according to traditional measures. Hawaiʻi’s unemployment fell to record lows, GDP grew and wages rose slightly over the past two years (pre- COVID-19). Yet eight years after the end of the Great Recession, 42% (190,390 households) of Hawaii’s 455,138 households still struggle to make ends meet.  

The AUW ALICE Report provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to inform policy and drive innovation to gain a better understanding of this growing population, especially as Hawaiʻi navigates the road to recovery in the wake of the COVID pandemic. The report has galvanized the community and is a call to action to inform statewide policy, philanthropy and allocation of resources.


Aloha United Way established the ALICE Fund to tackle the issues that cause financial instability for these individuals and families. Through transformative initiatives that bring together people, resources and sustainable solutions, the ALICE Fund strives to enhance the financial stability of our ALICE ohana to make our community stronger and more resilient. From 2022-2024 the ALICE Fund is presented by Aloha United Way and Hawai'i Community Foundation. 


ALICE by County

ALICE lives in every town and neighborhood across Hawaii. ALICE exists in every ethnicity. They are our friends, family, and people we rely on every day. It takes just one crisis — loss of employment for a short period, an unexpected health emergency or car repair, an increase in monthly rent — to put these families and individuals at even greater risk of long-term problems like chronic health issues or loss of housing.

Hawai'i Counties, 2020

County Total Households % Below ALICE Threshold
Hawai'i 71,565 48%
Honolulu 308,208 40%
Kaua'i 22,524 44%
Maui 52,794 42%

Click here for more county information on ALICE


The Household Survival Budget is the basis for the ALICE Threshold and quantifies the costs of the five basic essentials of housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.

Average Household Survival Budget 2016 2018 Hourly Wage Needed to Support this Budget
Family of 4 $72,336 $90,828 $45.41 for 1 worker
$22.70 for 2 workers
Single $28,128 $31,056 $15.53
Single Senior NA $34,308 $17.15

To put these budgets in perspective, the median hourly wage for the most common occupation in Hawaii, retail sales, was $13.03 in 2018, or $26,060 if full time, year-round — not enough to support any of the ALICE budgets.

The bare-minimum Household Survival Budget does not allow for any savings, leaving a household vulnerable to unexpected expenses. Affording only a very modest living in each community, this budget is still significantly more than the adjusted 2018 Federal Poverty Level for Hawaii of $13,960 for a single adult and $28,870 for a family of four.

NEW - ALICE Wage Tool

  • See the counties in Hawaii where a given wage can support a given survival budget
  • See how many people earn below a given wage and where they live and work.

Access the tool here.

Please contact Impact@auw.org for more information.