ALICE ChartALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford a bare-bones household budget that covers all necessities.
For far too many families, the cost of living outpaces what they earn. These households struggle to manage even their most basic needs - housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and necessary technology.
When funds run short, cash-strapped households are forced to make impossible choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, filling a prescription or fixing the car. These short-term decisions have long-term consequences not only for ALICE families, but for all of us.


Despite the critical nature of many jobs to keep our local economies running – educating our youngest children, keeping our ailing parent safe – these workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin.

ALICE is your childcare worker, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home-health aide, an office clerk. ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.



We envision a world where all those who work to keep our local economies running can support themselves and their families.
Traditional measures of poverty do not capture the magnitude of people who are struggling financially. Our mission is to make the invisible visible by shining a light on the true number of families struggling in the U.S.
Our new metrics offer a better way to count and understand ALICE, and to ultimately inform policy decisions to affect positive change for this growing portion of our population. Armed with this data, we aim to change the national dialogue about the impact on families, communities, and all of us when financial crisis is the norm for so many.

The 2020 ALICE Report provides explains the persistent level of hardship faced by ALICE families and individuals, revealing aspects of the Tennessee economy not tracked by traditional economic measures. It presents the latest ALICE data available — a point-in-time snapshot of economic conditions across the state in 2018. By showing how many Tennessee households were struggling then, the ALICE data provides the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is having such a devastating economic impact now. The future success of our communities is directly tied to the financial stability of these fragile ALICE households.




ALICE in Tennessee Interactive Website: The United for ALICE project has conducted studies of economic hardship in Tennessee and more than 20 other states. This interactive website allows you to view data for Tennessee and other states, by county, Zip Code, city, and more. Information on the site includes ALICE demographics, survival budgets by household type, and much more.

ALICE in Focus: Children Sumner County Summary Cover with border


2022 "ALICE In Focus: Children" Sumner County Summary Report - .pdf: The ALICE In Focus series analyzes the most recent data from 2019 and highlights specific segments of the ALICE demographic.  The first in the series, "ALICE in Focus: Children" finds that traditional measures of poverty have severely undercounted the number of children of all races, ages 18 and younger, who are growing up in households that struggle to meet their basic needs.  This report compiles the data for Sumner County, Tennessee. 



2020 ALICE In Tennessee Report - .pdf: The 2020 ALICE in Tennessee Report provides a statewide overview of ALICE demographics in the state, the cost of living in Tennessee, and the changing landscape of work for state residents. The report provides an overall picture of economic conditions for the ALICE population by county; health, education, and social factors impacting our residents; and data for determining next steps.

2021 Pandemic Divide ALICE Report


The Pandemic Divide - pdf: Before the pandemic, 42% of U.S. households were already unable to make ends meet. This includes households in poverty and those that are ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). With income above the Federal Poverty Level, ALICE households earn too much to qualify as “poor” but are still unable to cover basic household expenses in the counties where they live.

Our Report, The Pandemic Divide: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys, reveals that ALICE families fared significantly worse than higher income households during the pandemic — financially, physically, and emotionally.