ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed)

We all know people who are ALICE - Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE workers in Denton County educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet do not earn enough to support their own families. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, which have long-term consequences not only for their family, but for our community.  

Take a Walk in ALICE's shoes

We see ALICE every day – hard workers who keep the Texas economy running. The ALICE simulator allows you to experience the tough choices that these families make everyday. 

Experience the Simulator


ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the 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.

Alice numbers

Financial Hardship Has Changed Over Time in Denton 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, 86,344 households in Denton County were below the ALICE Threshold; by 2021 that number had changed to 102,413.


Number of Households

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Percentage of Households

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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

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


Households Type

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Household age

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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.

ALICE Budget

There is significant variation in the number of households who live below the ALICE Threshold within the county. Explore the map and table below to learn more. The map is shaded to show the percentage of households that are below the ALICE Threshold (poverty-level and ALICE households combined). The darker the blue, the higher the percentage.

ALICE by City

United for ALICEWant to learn more or see ALICE data in other parts of Texas? Check out United for ALICE >