2021 United for Alice Report

Media Contact:
Andy Neborak
Executive Director
(715) 834-5043


Report uncovers the financial impact of COVID-19

(Chippewa and Eau Claire County, WI) ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn above the Federal Poverty line but below the cost to provide basic needs. The Pandemic Divide: An ALICE Analysis of National COVID Surveys explores four national surveys through the lens of the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival, the minimum income needed to live and work in today’s economy. The report uncovers that households below the ALICE Threshold fared significantly worse during the pandemic than those with higher incomes – as reported in surveys conducted between March 2020 and May 2021 by the U.S. Census, Federal Reserve Board, University of Southern California and United For ALICE.

Combined with those in poverty, these struggling households accounted for 51 million households nationwide as the pandemic hit. Even with government supports in play, households below the ALICE Threshold reported higher levels of job loss, childcare struggles, and health challenges than those earning an income that affords the basics, according to the report’s analysis. In addition, racial inequities are evident within the data, as Black and Hispanic households reported harsher experiences at every turn.

According to the most recent ALICE study from United Way, the majority of households at or below the ALICE Threshold had difficulty meeting at least one basic need. A defining feature of ALICE households is the phrase “asset limited.”  ALICE families struggle to meet basic needs which makes saving for an emergency a difficult task. As a result, ALICE families can neither build assets nor catch up to those who already have assets. ALICE families were especially vulnerable to the dual health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19 because many did not recover from the Great Recession.

The other recent report is a COVID study that found 32 percent of Chippewa County residents and 35 percent of Eau Claire residents are living below the ALICE threshold. A growing number of Wisconsin’s households are living on the edge of the ALICE Threshold.

Racial and ethnic disparities are seen both above and below the ALICE Threshold. Inequality in income and wealth will continue to rise, unable to save, ALICE families will continue to face barriers like lower pay for women, racial ethnic discrimination, and student loan debt. To read the full report, visit UnitedForALICE.org/Covid2019.


United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley has supported the human services of Chippewa and Eau Claire counties for over 50 years. It brings community members and resources together to ensure that children in the Chippewa Valley will enter school ready to succeed, Chippewa Valley residents will achieve self-sufficiency, and the mental health of Chippewa Valley residents will improve.