Take a coffee break with the Community Indicators Consortium on the first Friday of each month as we feature the latest projects, data tools and developments in the practice and effective use of community indicators to improve quality of life.  

The ALICE Essentials Index

Friday, May 7, 2021


When policymakers lack the right tools for the job, policy suffers. Official economic markers often do not adequately measure the realities that low-income families face: which essentials they need to live and work in the modern economy, and how the costs of those goods have changed over time. The ALICE measures help to fill this gap.

ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – households have income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but not high enough to afford essentials in the communities where they live. In 2018, of the 121 million households in the U.S., 13% earned below the FPL, while another 29% — more than twice as many — were ALICE. The core of the problem is that the cost of household basics is higher than the wages of many common occupations, and the cost of household basics is rising faster than wages.

Dan Treglia, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow

United for ALICE

Dan Treglia is a Senior Research Fellow at United for ALICE and Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Treglia’s recent work focuses on the use of quantitative methods to better understand and address a range of social policy issues, most notably homelessness. He has a doctorate degree in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

As the worldwide central knowledge and organizational hub for community indicators projects, CIC advances and supports measurable, equitable and sustainable improvements in the quality of community life. For more information, visit us at www.communityindicators.net