The number of households in financial hardship in Texas continues to be undercounted in official measures. According to the FPL, 14% of households in Texas (1,460,106) were in poverty in 2021. Yet United For ALICE data shows that another 29% (3,099,184 households) — more than twice as many — were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn above the FPL, but not enough to afford the basics in the communities where they live.
The reality is that of the 10.7 million households in Texas, nearly 4.6 million — 43% — had income below the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival in 2021. This includes both households in poverty and ALICE households. The crux of the problem is a mismatch between earnings and the cost of basics.
For example, 52% of cashiers (one of the most common occupations in Texas) were below the ALICE Threshold in 2021. These workers earned a median hourly wage of $11.06 — not even enough to cover the ALICE Household Survival Budget for one worker employed full time ($12.26 per hour), much less for a family with children, even with two adults working (combined wage of $30.33 per hour). From 2019 to 2021, the cost of basics increased across Texas and remained well above the FPL. For a family of four in 2021, the FPL was $26,500 while the ALICE Household Survival Budget was $60,660. Between 2019 and 2021, the average annual costs (excluding taxes) increased 11% for a single adult, 11% for a single senior, and 10% for a family of four.