ALICE - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed
  • 46 %

    of Bexar County Households Were Unable to Make Ends Meet in 2022
  • 15 %

    Living Below the Federal Poverty Level
  • 31 %

    Earning Less than the Cost of Living
  • $80,988

    Annual Income Required for a Family of 4 to Make Ends Meet
MEET ALICE: Essential, Working, Struggling

ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and represents the growing number of families who are working, but unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care or technology. These workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin, while keeping our local communities running.

ALICE is the cashier at your supermarket, the child care worker, the delivery driver and the EMT providing you life-saving assistance. ALICE is our neighbor.

Households experiencing ALICE are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. This has long-term consequences not only for those currently experiencing ALICE but for all of us.

A household experiencing ALICE is technically defined as having an annual household income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but below the basic cost of living. The basic cost of living is defined by the Household Survival Budget, which calculates the bare-minimum cost of household basics at the county level. The Household Survival Budget considers county-specific costs of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan, plus taxes and a small contingency.

For a family of four (two adults and two children in childcare), the ALICE Household Survival Budget for Bexar County requires an annual income of $80,899. Whereas the Federal Poverty Level for a family of four requires an annual income below $27,750. Families within this “gap” are considered ALICE.

The driving force behind United For ALICE is the data and metrics. In 2022, a total of 4.7 million households (43%) struggled to make ends meet in Texas and 55 million households fell below the ALICE Threshold (42%) nationwide.

The number of families experiencing financial hardship is even more pervasive in Bexar County.

While 15% of these households are living below the Federal Poverty Level, an additional 31% – more than twice as many – are experiencing ALICE in Bexar County. Again, these households earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford basic household necessities.


Households experiencing hardship are increasing and widespread throughout the county.

ALICE in the Crosscurrents: An Update on Financial Hardship in Texas shows that while wages were increasing, so too were costs. For a family of four with an infant and a preschooler, the basic costs to live and work in Bexar County, excluding tax credits, rose from $68,316 in 2021 to $80,988 a year later. Compounding the issue in 2022 was the loss of up to $15,000 in federal child tax credits and stimulus payments that this family had access to in 2021.

The latest data is a reminder that while we have made some progress, our work is far from over to support families that are struggling financially. Increased wages have certainly helped mitigate the struggle, but inflation and the loss of pandemic supports converged to keep ALICE households trapped.

Further, households experience hardship disproportionately due to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ZIP code of residence, health, ability, veteran status and/or immigration status.

For example, half or more of Black (56%), Hispanic (51%), Native (50%) and multi-race (50%) households are experiencing ALICE above the overall county average (46%).

Zip codes with higher instances of poverty are concentrated in the near west and east regions of the county. Homes experiencing ALICE are more widely distributed throughout the county, even with the highest concentrations falling inside Loop 410 and in the west.

Experience ALICE with the Bexar-County specific ALICE Tool

The Making Tough Choices ALICE tool is a supplemental and separate resource from the ALICE Report and is produced and operated independently from the ALICE Report, which is produced by United For ALICE as part of United Way Of San Antonio and Bexar County.

United Ways of Texas offers a simulation exercise, providing an in-depth exploration of those experiencing ALICE in order for you to better understand the struggle.

Select the button below to put yourself in the shoes of a typical ALICE family in Bexar County and experience some of the tough choices that these families make every single day.