The World Food Prize Foundation

Closing Session | 2018 ALICE Report

Deann Cook
Executive Director
United Ways of Iowa

Deann's Bio
United Ways of Iowa

The closing session of the 2018 Iowa Hunger Summit will continue the conversation on ALICE as Deann Cook, Executive Director of United Ways of Iowa, provides an interactive discussion around the recently released 2018 United Way ALICE report for Iowa.

2018 United Way ALICE Report for Iowa

The 2018 ALICE Report was recently released by the United Ways of Iowa earlier this summer. 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. Data is available on the state, county and municipal level. The report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Iowa workers are struggling financially, and why.

ALICE is Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed: these are the Iowa households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level who cannot meet a basic needs budget.

ALICE is not an individual, but a conceptual blending that represents a growing number of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, childcare, health care and transportation. Although ALICE is earning income, pays taxes and contributes to Iowa's economy, the household income is not enough to meet a basic survival budget in these categories. 

Though many are aware of the struggles of ALICE, the depth of the struggle is often misunderstood and we underestimate the consequences for all of us when we don't listen to ALICE's tale. We find her in all areas of our state, from the cities of Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, to the small towns that make our state. This report shines a light on her opportunities and challenges so we all can begin to ask ourselves, "How does my decision today affect ALICE tomorrow?" 

Key Findings

  • Over 450,000 Iowa households - 37% - struggle to afford basic household expenses
  • Federal Poverty Level indicates only 12% of Iowa households faced financial hardship - an ADDITIONAL 25% of households fall below the ALICE Threshold (meeting a household survival budget)
  • ALICE households comprise between 26% (Plymouth Co.) and 52% (Decatur Co.) of the population in every Iowa county
  • Over 100,000 households with children fall below the ALICE Threshold - nearly one-third are in two-parent homes
  • Childcare represents a family's greatest expense - $1,031/month for one infant and one preschooler in licensed and accredited childcare
  • The average annual household Survival Budget for a four-person family in Iowa is $56,772, more than double the Federal Poverty Level for the same family
  • 66% of Iowa jobs pay less than $20/hour; more than half of those pay less than $15 per hour - ($15/hour full-time is $30,000 annually)

Download the 2018 ALICE Report of Iowa presented by Alliant Energy with additional support from the Iowa Credit Union Foundation.

ALICE Simulator

Put yourself in the shoes of a typical ALICE® family. For the next few minutes, you’ll experience some of the tough choices that these families have to make every single day to reach the end of each month. You’ll learn more about the types of struggles faced in Iowa and how United Ways are raising awareness of these issues.

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