But right now, it’s not. In fact, nearly half of Arkansas households (474,000) do not make enough to cover basic household necessities, such as food, childcare, housing, transportation and technology. These are the white, black and brown men and women whose jobs are critical to the success of our communities — early education workers, laborers and movers, home health aides, heavy truck drivers, store clerks, repair workers, and office assistants — yet they can’t make ends meet. They are young and old; rural, suburban and urban; single and married. These are Arkansans who all contribute to Arkansas’s economy by earning, spending, and paying taxes. But they are trapped by high household costs, low wages, and unreliable work with little to no benefits.
Traditional measures of financial stability have kept many of these households largely hidden. By earning more than the federal poverty level but not enough to survive on a barebones budget, ALICE families cannot save money for future financial needs regardless of whether they work two or three jobs. The American Dream narrative of hard work and personal responsibility won’t fix this broken system.
We need policymakers, business leaders and advocates to come together and make sure that Arkansas workers have the ability to support themselves, save and plan for their futures. This is especially urgent given projected increases in low-wage and low-skill jobs, rising housing and childcare costs, and inequitable pay and employment opportunities for women and people of color.
Let’s choose to make our economy work for everyone. When we do, we will see the entire state grow and prosper when working Arkansans can support the health and future of their families, buy homes, and contribute more to their communities.
Will you pledge to #StandUpForALICE?
Sign the Pledge
I pledge to #StandUpForALICE, and I commit to:
- Ensure hard-working Arkansans are paid the wages they deserve so they no longer have to struggle to make ends meet
- Challenge myths about ALICE households and tell a different, better story — our economy should work for all working Arkansans, but right now, it’s not
- Advocate for bold investments in opportunity, such as public education, transportation, and workforce development