Report: 40 Percent of Connecticut Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

By Christine Stuart September 4, 2018

A new report from the United Way found there are 538,529 households or 40 percent of the population that can not afford basic needs, such as housing, food, health care, child care, technology and transportation.

Despite working hard, 30 percent of Connecticut households or 404,035 have earnings above the federal poverty line, but under a basic cost-of-living threshold, according to the United Ways ALICE report. ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed.

The number of ALICE households increased from 352,699 in 2010 to 404,035 in 2016, the last year for which data is available. That’s an 11 percent increase in households that are struggling, but don’t necessarily qualify for government assistance such as Medicaid or food stamps.

Under the criteria developed by researchers, it costs nearly $78,000 a year for a family of four with one infant and one toddler to meet the basic needs in the ALICE household survival budget.

Paula Gilberto, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, said 45 percent of that basic budget for the above family of four is housing and childcare and childcare alone is the single largest expense at 26 percent of the overall budget.

The report shows that between 2010 and 2016 the cost of childcare for families has increased 13 percent. The cost of housing during that same time period increased 9 percent and the cost of healthcare increase 82 percent.

In Connecticut, most ALICE households don’t have three months of savings to cover living expenses and that poses a real risk to any financial emergency such as an illness or a car breaking down or a major appliance needing to be replaced.

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