We all know people who are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — earning more than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford the basics where they live. ALICE workers were celebrated as essential heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet they do not earn enough to support their own families.

ALICE households and households in poverty are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality childcare or paying the rent — choices that have long-term consequences not only for their families but for all of our community.


ALICE in Lubbock County

While conditions have improved for some households, many continue to struggle, especially as wages fail to keep pace with the rising cost of household essentials (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a basic smartphone plan). Households below the ALICE Threshold — ALICE households plus those in poverty — can’t afford the essentials.


Financial Hardship Has Changed Over Time in Lubbock County

As circumstances change, households may find themselves below or above the ALICE Threshold at different times. While the COVID-19 pandemic brought employment shifts, health struggles, and school/business closures in 2021, it also spurred unprecedented public assistance through pandemic relief measures. In 2019, 53,106 households in Lubbock County were below the ALICE Threshold; by 2021 that number had changed to 54,121. Use the buttons below to switch between ALICE data over time by number and percentage.

Households by Percentage, Lubbock County, 2021


Financial Hardship is Not Equally Distributed

By total number, groups with the largest population of households below the ALICE Threshold tend to also be in the largest demographic groups. However, when looking at the proportion of each group that is below the ALICE Threshold, it is clear that some groups are more likely to be ALICE than others.

Households by Race/Ethnicity, Lubbock County, 2021


There were also differences in financial hardship by household type and age of the householder.

Household Type

Age of Householder


The Cost of Basics Outpaces Wages

The Household Survival Budget reflects the minimum cost to live and work in the modern economy and includes housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, a smartphone plan, and taxes. It does not include savings for emergencies or future goals like college or retirement. In 2021, household costs in every county in Texas were well above the Federal Poverty Level of $12,880 for a single adult and $26,500 for a family of four.

Use the ALICE Budget Simulator to get a better idea of the budget decisions ALICE households are making. 



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