Five Myths About ALICE


"Five Myths About ALICE"

At United Way of Central Georgia, we've been working diligently to shed light on the often-overlooked economic reality faced by countless working Americans through the ALICE framework.

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—an acronym that succinctly encapsulates the challenges these families endure on a daily basis. Let's delve into what this means in practical terms:

  • Asset Limited: ALICE families typically do not own a home or have any significant savings or other assets. They are essentially one financial emergency away from being swept into poverty. 
  • Income Constrained: ALICE families have a limited income stream and struggle to meet their families basic needs, like a roof over their heads and food on the table.
  • Employed: ALICE families are employed and strive for self-sufficiency.

As we seek to change the narrative on the economic reality of ALICE families, five primary misconceptions keep coming up.

  • ONE: ALICE families are not working. This simply is not true. The head of an ALICE household is gainfully employed with a full-time job and in many cases, has been loyally working for his or her employer for many years. 
  • TWO: ALICE families don’t want to be independent. This simply is not true. The head of an ALICE household consistently pursues financial independence, often juggling multiple jobs to support their family. They possess a keen awareness of the economic challenges their family faces and are actively striving to solve them through gainful employment.
  • THREE: ALICE families live in poverty. This simply is not true. By definition, ALICE families are above the Federal Poverty Level. However, they are significantly impeded financially and are one unforeseen expense away from falling into poverty. 
  • FOUR: You don’t know an ALICE family. This simply is not true. ALICE families are everywhere. According to the data, between 20% - 35% of households in Central Georgia fall into the ALICE designation. As core costs such as housing, childcare, and food continue to outpace wages, these families are increasingly falling further and further behind. 
  • FIVE: ALICE families are easy to spot. This simply is not true. ALICE families are your neighbors, coworkers, and community members, people you likely interact with every single day. They are the waiter at your favorite restaurant, the cashier at your neighborhood grocery store, the greeter welcoming you to church on Sunday, or the parent of your child’s best friend at school. 

Learn more about ALICE and help dispel the myths by checking out the interactive graphs at