Key Terms

Household Survival Budget: The bare-minimum costs of basic necessities (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan).

ALICE Threshold: The average income needed to afford the Household Survival Budget. Households below the ALICE Threshold include both ALICE and poverty-level households.

ALICE: Households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living.

Poverty: Households earning below the Federal Poverty Level

Total Households: The number of households as reported by the American Community Survey.

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Research Center

New Jersey

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 child care or paying the rent — choices that have long-term consequences not only for their families, but for all.

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State Downloads

New Jersey

State Overview

United For ALICE calculates the cost of household essentials for all counties in New Jersey. These costs, outlined in the Household Survival Budget, are calculated for various household sizes and compositions.

Of New Jersey's 3,495,628 households in 2021…

  • 11% earned below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  • 26% were ALICE, in households that earned above the FPL but not enough to afford the basics in the communities where they live
  • Together, 37% of households in New Jersey were below the ALICE Threshold (poverty + ALICE divided by total households)

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, 1,135,420 households in New Jersey were below the ALICE Threshold; by 2021, that number had changed to 1,292,430. Use the buttons below to switch between ALICE data over time by number and percentage.

Total Households
Total Households
Total Households
Total Households
Total Households
Total Households
Total Households
View Source
Sources: ALICE Threshold, 2010-2021; American Community Survey, 2010-2021
View Source
Sources: ALICE Threshold, 2010-2021; American Community Survey, 2010-2021

Learn More

See this data — and more — for all New Jersey counties on the County Reports page.

ALICE Lives in Every Community

ALICE lives in rural, urban, and suburban areas across the state. ALICE household data for New Jersey is available by County (see map below), ZIP code, Census Designated Place, and County Subdivision (on the Maps page) and by Legislative District. You can also compare states and explore national-level data on the National Overview page or download an Excel version of this data.

Within your state, hover over a county to see the total number and percentage of households that were below the FPL (Poverty), were ALICE, or were above the ALICE Threshold in 2021.

Percent Below ALICE Threshold
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Household Type: All Households
CountyHouseholds% Below ALICE Threshold
View Source
Sources: ALICE Threshold, 2010-2021; American Community Survey, 2010-2021

Learn More

See maps with additional locations and topics on the Maps page.

ALICE Households are Diverse, but Financial Hardship is Not Equally Distributed

ALICE households are as diverse as the communities they live in. ALICE household data is available at the state and county levels by race/ethnicity, household composition (families with children, single households), and age of householder. Exploring the demographics of financial hardship highlights inequities in the state and local economy.

For example, the figure below shows the substantial disparities in financial hardship that exist by race/ethnicity.


Households by Race/Ethnicity, New Jersey, 2021

View Notes
Note: All racial categories except Two or More Races are for one race alone. Race and ethnicity are
overlapping categories; in this figure, the AI/AN (American Indian/Alaska Native), Asian, Black, Hawaiian
(includes other Pacific Islanders), and Two or More Races groups may include Hispanic households. The White
group includes only White, non-Hispanic households. The Hispanic group may include households of any race.
Because household poverty data is not available for the American Community Survey’s race/ethnicity categories,
annual income below $15,000 is used as a proxy.
View Source
Sources: ALICE Threshold, 2021; American Community Survey, 2021

Learn More

View more demographic data — including data by household type and age of householder for the state and counties — on the Demographics page.

ALICE Works Hard, But It’s Not Enough

A key contributor to the number of ALICE households in New Jersey is the fundamental mismatch between the cost of living and what jobs pay. For example, 28% of Retail Salespersons (the most common occupation in New Jersey) were below the ALICE Threshold in 2021.

Top Occupations, Employment, Wages, and Percentage Below ALICE Threshold, New Jersey, 2021

Median Hourly
Percent Median
Wage Change
From 2019
Percent Workers
View Source
Sources: ALICE Threshold, 2021; Bureau of Labor Statistics—Occupational Employment Statistics, 2021;
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, PUMS, 2019 and 2021

Learn More

Learn more about work in the state on the Labor Force page.

ALICE Data Can Inform Action

A catalyst for change, the ALICE research calls us all to action. Partner organizations across the country are using this research to inform programming, policy, evaluation, planning, and more.

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ALICE In Action

See what our partners are doing to help ALICE in the ALICE in Action database.

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Indicators of Well-being

View ALICE data mapped with Indicators of community well-being

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Community Maps

Search for resources to help ALICE in your community on the Maps page