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New report shows some Tarrant County households struggling to make ends meet

Posted Feb. 12, 2019

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from cover of the report
The 2018-2019 Community Assessment is available now.

One-quarter of households in Tarrant County could not afford basic needs in 2016, and 12 percent were living in poverty, as defined by the federal poverty guidelines. That’s according to the Texas ALICE Report released by United Ways of Texas.

ALICE — an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — identifies households that earn more than the federal poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. The Texas ALICE Report is a comprehensive overview of financial need in the state, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report includes measures based on present-day income levels and expenses.

Data shows 45 percent of Fort Worth, 39 percent of Arlington and 29 percent of Northeast Tarrant County individuals and families are struggling financially and fall into the ALICE and poverty categories.

In addition, United Way of Tarrant County released its Community Assessment, which identifies what Tarrant County residents believe are the most pressing issues in the community and provides a clear directive of where funding is needed to solve these issues.

“This data shows, even though people are working hard, they are finding it difficult to make ends meet,” said TD Smyers, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “We are committed to assisting these individuals and families in Tarrant County.”

The 135-page Texas ALICE Report reveals additional points of data, including:

  • Housing and child care are the greatest expenses for families of four (two adults, one infant and one preschooler), followed by food, transportation and health care.
  • For ALICE households, average monthly childcare was well above $1,000, with monthly food expenses at $525 and transportation costs at $728 a month.
  • The average Household Survival Budget (calculation created for the ALICE Report) for a Tarrant County family of four increased to $64,464 a year, which is significantly higher than the federally-recognized family poverty level of $24,300. The Household Survival Budget reflects the bare minimum that a household needs to live and work today.

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