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Making Ends Meet in New Jersey

Have You Met ALICE?

The United Way of Northern New Jersey conducted its ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) study. ALICE is a term used to represent anyone who is unable to pay for basic needs despite being employed. 

The study provides county-by-county and town-level data; cost of living calculations for six family size variations; analysis of how many households are living paycheck to paycheck; and the implications for New Jersey’s future economic stability.

Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • 49% of all jobs in New Jersey pay less than $20 an hour, with more than two-thirds of those paying less than $15 per hour. 
  • The cost of living is rising for ALICE households as the cost of essential items has increased by 3.4% nationwide over the last decade.
  • Of all ALICE households with children, 48% were comprised of single female-headed families. 

Many hard-working people are unable to pay their bills in New Jersey. The high cost of living, coupled with our challenging economy, has made it difficult for people to save money and also forced many to borrow money to pay for basic needs. This survival pattern, while understandable, is precarious. A health emergency, an unexpected car repair, or some similar unavoidable (and perfectly legitimate) need for cash can push a family into a financial crisis.

Read the full report to find out more. 

Achieving Financial Stability

The need for financial assistance is the most frequently expressed need of people who contact NJ 211. Local United Ways throughout New Jersey are focused on helping individuals and families achieve long-term financial stability by providing free services that educate and assist in reaching financial goals.

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