1.2 Million Pennsylvanians Cannot Afford Household Basics
New United Way of PA Report Sheds Light on Financial Hardships
(June 18, 2019) – The United Way of Venango and United Way of Titusville Region ), along with United Way of PA and regional partners, today released a report that shows that 1.2 million Pennsylvania households earn more than the federal poverty level but still not enough to pay for essentials such as housing, food, transportation and child care. When the numbers of households that live below the federal poverty level are added, the result is 1.8 million, or 37 percent, of Pennsylvania households are struggling to survive.
The ALICE® report, which stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed, is an initiative of the Pennsylvania network of United Ways to raise awareness of the challenges faced by working families and to mobilize organizations and individuals who want to support strategies and policies that move ALICE along their journey to financial stability.
United Way’s in Venango County and Titusville region are committed to understanding the communities we serve. “For us to create long-lasting community change, we need to address the underlying causes of the most significant local issues that ALICE residents face,” said Will Price, Executive Director of Venango County.
“ALICE is the keystone of the Pennsylvania economy. ALICE represents a large portion of the purchasing power of Pennsylvania households. All Pennsylvanians lean on ALICE for support on a daily basis. Now that we are aware of the struggles ALICE faces, we must come together to help ALICE take steps toward lasting financial stability.” said Terri Wig, Chief Professional Officer of United Way of the Titusville Region
UWP’s report defines the cost of a bare-minimum household budget for each county in the state. Referred to as the survival budget, it is not sustainable, but is a more realistic measure than the federal poverty level. Any Pennsylvanian who is not earning enough to afford the survival budget is ALICE®. Even those who earn more than the cost of the household survival budget are at risk, and the ALICE stability budget is a representation of a sustainable family budget in the modern economy, with a few extras and a 10-percent savings commitment every month.
Additional data highlights revealed by the research include:
- Thirty-nine Percent of Venango County and Thirty-eight Percent of Crawford County, with available data, of households living at an income below the ALICE survival threshold.
- The national inflation rate from 2007-2017 was 22 percent, but the cost of the bare-minimum family budget increased by 33 percent, and the bare minimum single adult budget by 26 percent over that same time period. During that 10-year period, Pennsylvanians' median income increased by only 20 percent.
- In order for a household consisting of two adults and two school-age children to afford basic housing their annual income would have to be $46,654. However, more than 8,000 of Venango County’s 21,925 households fall below the ALICE survival budget and do not meet these income requirements.
- In order for a household consisting of two adults and two school-age children to afford basic housing their annual income would have to be $45,708. Approximately 13,700 of Crawford County’s 36,050 households fall below the ALICE survival budget and do not meet these income requirements.
- More than 48% of the households below the ALICE threshold in Venango County and Titusville Region fell short of what they required to meet their most basic food needs. This figure takes into consideration income, government, and nonprofit assistance.
“ALICE is a lot of hard-working Pennsylvanians who are essential to our state’s economy. ALICE is our local residents. Our communities would not thrive without the contributions of ALICE,” Price, noted.
The full report, an interactive map, the ALICE experience, and more are available at www.uwp.org/alice.
About United Way of Venango County (UWVC)
United Way of Venango County is working towards reducing the number of individuals struggling to meet their health, education, and income by 3,000 residents before 2025.
About United Way of Titusville Region (UWTR)
United Way of the Titusville Region is committed to being the driving force in improving the lives of the people of the region through actions that address and reduce human service needs.
Will Price, United Way of Venango County
Terri Ann Wig, United Way of the Titusville Region