The number of households living in poverty in New Jersey has declined slightly, but families that are “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed,” or ALICE, have increased recently.

Between 2010 and 2016, the combined households in poverty and ALICE grew by 15%; just between 2014-16, they increased by 5.6%. NJSpotlight reports the cost of basic needs outpaced the rate of inflation and wage growth, with expenses up by 16 percent, while median earnings rose by just 12 percent. The United Way ALICE report indicates that, in New Jersey, a family of four needs a minimum of $74,000 to cover basic needs.

The report includes a smartphone in that calculation, assuming that it is necessary in an ever increasing technological world. The biggest drivers of the increased costs to working families were health care, child care, and transportation; since the end of the recession (assumed to 2010), the cost of health care alone has doubled.

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