United Ways across Ohio recently released the results of an in-depth study, the ALICE report, on a previously poorly understood demographic—hardworking Ohioans who earn more than the federal poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. ALICE households (ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) typically have no savings, live paycheck to paycheck, and are just one serious illness or major car repair away from financial instability. They may work as home health aides, at fast food restaurants, or other low-paying jobs. ALICE families can be found in every Ohio county, not just in our urban centers or the most rural corners of the state.
Here in Medina County, one of the most affluent counties in the state, 20% of households fit the ALICE demographic, while another 8% are living at or below the federal poverty level. In other words, 18,695 Medina County households are not able to meet all their basic needs. A family of four—2 adults, an infant, and a preschooler—living in Medina County would need an annual income of $65,328 to afford just the basics of food, transportation, housing, child care, and taxes, the ALICE study found.