ALICE report

ALICE® Report: A Study of
Financial Hardship in Maryland




United Way ALICE® Report

ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The earnings of Maryland ALICE individuals and families are not enough to support a “survival budget” that is far higher than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)–in some cases, more than three times higher than the FPL.

The latest ALICE Report, released by United Ways throughout the state of Maryland, reveals that 39% of households can’t afford the state’s high cost of living and don’t earn enough to pay for basic necessities like housing, food, healthcare, childcare, and transportation.  This percentage, based on 2018 data, is clearly higher in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating economic impact on our residents.

The Maryland ALICE Survival Budget that covers just the most basic necessities was $87,156 for a family of four and $33,636 for a single adult in 2018.

“Today, as we face record unemployment rates, we know the number of Maryland households that are struggling is more than has been accounted for in our report – which is based on data collected in 2018,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “The pandemic has exposed exactly the issues of economic fragility that the ALICE Report reveals and for thousands that the impact of COVID-19 has suddenly thrust into the ALICE population. Of the tens of thousands of calls we have received to the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline for food, healthcare, housing assistance, and other resources, many are from those who have not had to deal with these challenges before As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our economy, we will continue to provide what’s needed, where it’s needed for those in our region who are struggling to rebuild their lives.”

You can help those who are among the ALICE population with a donation today.


Do you identify as ALICE or have an ALICE story to share?

Are you a business or community leader helping ALICE?

We’re building a powerful network of those who are committed to helping people in our region who don’t earn enough to afford basic needs, and to highlight the barriers and challenges to financially stable lives so many hardworking people face.


ALICE represents our hardworking neighbors in need. ALICE holds positions such as cashiers, administrative and nursing assistants, waiters/waitresses, laborers and security guards and jobs in the retail and food industries. Vital to our state’s future economic well-being, they face barriers beyond their control that limit their ability to become financially stable and self-sufficient.

Heather (2)

“We make too much to get help, but not enough to survive.”

What does it cost to afford the basics?

The ALICE Household Survival Budget accounts for the actual costs of basic necessities in Maryland. See a breakdown of what it costs to afford the basics in the report.

ALICE Maryland
Survival Budget
Poverty Level
2 Adults, 2 Children $87,156 $25,100
1 Individual $33,636 $12,140


Watch the recordings from United Way’s Realities of Inequity: An impactful series that examines what’s preventing hardworking Maryland residents from getting ahead, and what United Way, our partners, and other local leaders are doing to help—and what you can do to break down barriers to inequity.

Eviction Prevention in the Pandemic

Strengthening State Policies for Working Families

Let’s Reboot Digital Access

The Need for Affordable, Accessible Childcare

Why So Many Marylanders Can’t Make Ends Meet

The Housing Crisis in Our Region

Ongoing and new needs in mental health

The ALICE Report and Benefits Cliff Study are made possible by corporate sponsor, Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Our belief that economic and environmental factors drive total health leads us to invest in approaches that have health, economic and social impacts and promote wellbeing for our members and communities, particularly those experiencing inequities and injustice.

United For ALICE is a grassroots movement of nearly 650 United Ways in 21 states, corporations, and foundations, all using the same methodology to document financial need. ALICE Reports provide county-by-county and town-level data, and analysis of how many households are struggling, including the obstacles ALICE households face on the road to financial independence.

Resources and Media

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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

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