Even before COVID-19 hit, 38 percent of Hudson Valley households were already one emergency away from financial ruin, setting the stage for an unprecedented economic crisis in the Hudson Valley for the next several years, according to the latest state ALICE® Report released by United Way of New York State. On Thursday, three Hudson Valley United Ways (United Way of Westchester and Putnam, United Way of Rockland and United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region) presented a virtual workshop on ALICE® 2020 to show the results from Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties as well as the new features to the ALICE report and its website.
ALICE® stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but less than they need to afford a basic survival budget. There is no room in their household budgets for emergency expenses.
The 2020 ALICE® report shows the Hudson Valley’s low-income families systematically lost buying power and financial stability as the cost of essentials outpaced wages. Meanwhile, the number of jobs that provide a living wage did not keep pace with the state’s population. The result was that 273,609 of the Hudson Valley’s 723,177 households in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), a large number even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report calls for stakeholders across all sectors to use its findings to remove obstacles to financial stability, identify gaps in community resources and build data-driven solutions to help ALICE families achieve economic stability, bolstering the state’s economy overall.
The most recent ALICE report shows that over the last few years, New York and the Hudson Valley’s economy rebounded and the state made investments to assist those living in poverty. However, there is still a large number of Hudson Valley residents who lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, childcare, transportation, and health care. The report continues to show that ALICE lives in every part of our region, from our largest cities to our most rural areas.
Using data from the census and a number of economic studies produced in 2018, The 2020 New York ALICE report shows the following:
- Between 2007 and 2018, the percent of households in poverty and living as ALICE in Hudson Valley remained stable, with small changes in each county, in contrast to the statewide trend, where the percentage of ALICE households increased from 23% in 2007 to 31% in 2018.
- To meet the ALICE threshold for survival, a Hudson Valley 4-person household (two adults, two children in care) needs an average annual income of $99,242.40 or $49.62 per hour.
- An individual living in the Hudson Valley needs an average annual income of $35,510.40 or $17.76 per hour, to meet the household survival budget.
- Economic data show that the number of low-wage jobs increased by 33% from 2007 to 2018 and accounted for the largest number of jobs in New York in 2018.
- All but one of New York’s 62 counties has 30 percent or more households earning less than what is needed to afford a basic household budget.
The report debuts a new measurement called the ALICE Essentials Index. This Index chronicles how the cost of housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care and a smartphone plan rose at nearly twice the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
To read a copy of the report and find county-by-county and town-level data on the size and demographics of ALICE as well as the community conditions and costs faced by ALICE households in the Hudson Valley, visit www.UnitedForALICE.org/New-York.