Poverty in Arkansas
GET EDUCATED ON THE ISSUE
WHO IS ALICE:
- ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.
- ALICE households refer to individuals and families with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost-of-living threshold.
- The Household Survival Budget, utilized in ALICE research, identifies the minimum cost of each of the seven basic household items needed to live and work in today’s economy: housing, childcare, food, transportation, technology, taxes, and health care.
ARKANSAS POVERTY STATISTICS:
- In Arkansas, 41% of households can’t make ends meet. 17% live below the poverty level, and an additional 24% qualify as ALICE, which means they earn above the Federal Poverty Level but less than the cost of living in their county.
- In Pulaski County, 16% of households are below poverty level and an additional 29% qualify as ALICE, which means they earn above the Federal Poverty Level but less than the cost of living in their county.
- The basic cost of living per year in Arkansas is $46k for a family of 4 and $18k for a single adult. This is much different than Federal Poverty Line estimates which are: $25k for a family and $12k for singles.
- More than 1 in 3 families with children in Arkansas live below the family threshold.
- The cost of basic household necessities in Arkansas increased by 32% from 2007 to 2017, far more than the increases in overall inflation and wages. Childcare represents an Arkansas family’s greatest expense, at a state average of $761 per month for two children.
- 60% of all people who are employed in Arkansas work hourly jobs, an increase of 14% over the last 10 years.
- Of the more than 1.2 million jobs in Arkansas, more than half (51%) pay less than $15 per hour. A $15 per hour wage grosses $30,000 per year, which is more than $16,000 less than the Household Survival Budget for a family of four. Imagine the tradeoffs these families have to make just to make ends meet.
- Outdated poverty measurements such as the Federal Poverty Line have obscured the scale of financial distress in Arkansas, making it difficult for Arkansas families to access the support they need to be financially stable.
- White households make up the largest demographic of ALICE households, 69%, mirroring Arkansas’s majority-white population. But while there are fewer black and Hispanic households, they are disproportionately likely to be ALICE.
MYTHS ABOUT POVERTY:
- MYTH 1: Poverty is solely a minority issue.
- MYTH 2: Government assistance is adequate to the extent that it encourages independence.
- MYTH 3: Social mobility is easily achievable.
- MYTH 4: Education is readily available and accessible to all people.