Who is ALICE? | Social impact and community investment


ALICE, an acronym for United Way which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of working individuals and families who are unable to meet their basic needs including food, childcare , housing, health care and transportation. RWJBarnabas Health is pleased to partner with United Way in this effort.

  • A total of 1,230,061 New Jersey households (n=38.5%) cannot meet their basic needs, including food, heat, childcare, transportation, health care, and food. technology in 2016. About 895,000 (n=28%) of these people are working; they are ALICE.
  • The cost of basic household expenses in New Jersey rose to $74,748 for a family of four (two adults with a baby and a preschooler); 10.5% of households in the state earn below FPL and another 28% are ALICE households.
  • 51% of all New Jersey jobs continue to pay less than $20 an hour and 5.6% of the population, age 16 and older, is unemployed and looking for work.

When people cannot afford food, heat or shelter, it significantly affects their health. In fact, research shows that social and economic factors account for 80% of all health outcomes. For years, it’s been understood that a person’s ZIP code is a better predictor of their health outcomes than their genetic code, and New Jersey is no exception. While New Jersey ranks on par with the nation in many of its health outcomes, many of its cities lag miserably; vulnerable populations suffer poor health, social and economic outcomes.

Table of factors


  • 16.9% of children live in poverty
  • 5.6% of the population, aged 16 and over, is unemployed and looking for work
  • Property and violent crimes in New Jersey are on the decline, but in 2016 there were more than 160,000 total incidents, including 1,453 rapes, 395 homicides, and 688 suicides.
  • Among people ages 15 to 29, homicide is the second leading cause of death in New Jersey and the United States. In New Jersey, homicides disproportionately affect young black men, conversely, white men in the state commit suicide more than twice as often as other individuals
  • 10.3% or nearly one million New Jerseyans are food insecure

    • 740,600 New Jersey residents benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, and receive an average of $142 per month to feed their families
    • 1/3 of these people make too much money to qualify for SNAP
    • 1 in 15 New Jersey workers benefit from SNAP
    • 298,000 Garden State children go to bed hungry
    • 200,000 elderly people do not have enough to eat
    • 1 in 5 Community College students are hungry
  • While 90.5% of New Jersey residents graduate from high school, that rate drops for vulnerable neighborhoods like Newark and New Brunswick, which have graduation rates of 71% and 70% respectively. Additionally, when analyzing graduation rates by race, 82% of black students graduate, 83% of Hispanic students graduate, and 75% of students with limited English proficiency graduate.


  • 26% of adults are obese
  • 18% drink alcohol excessively and 24% of driving fatalities involve alcohol involvement


  • 13% of the population under 65 does not have medical insurance


  • 23% of households in the state struggle with overcrowding, high housing costs, or a lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities

Jill E. Washington