Across North Iowa, over a third of households struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, health care, food, and transportation.

In Iowa, 457,044 households – 37 percent of the state’s total – are unable to afford the state’s cost of living, according to the updated United Way ALICE Report for Iowa to be released on June 26th. In North Central Iowa, 30-32% of households live below the ALICE Threshold. This is an update to the initial report released in 2016 that found 31% of Iowa households are unable to meet basic needs.

ALICE, which stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings, and are one emergency away from falling into poverty. ALICE is a look at those who are working and earning, but are not able to afford a basic needs budget in the county in which they live. These workers are in “maintainer” jobs that fill needs in our communities including child and senior caregiving, service sector positions, clerical and custodial positions, along with a host of others that we rely on every day. These members of our communities are typically missed in traditional measures of poverty.

The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial needs in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the US Census. The report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Iowa workers are struggling financially, and why.

Read the report here:


Making Tough Choices


Whats a month look like for an ALICE Family? Put yourself in their shoes and experience some of the tough choices that these families have to make every single day.