State Overview

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. 


Figure 3

Household Financial Status and Key Demo, Texas, 2021

The ALICE measures show three critical trends at the state level:

The cost of household essentials (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, a smart phone plan, and taxes) is rising faster than the cost of other goods and services.

Growth is concentrated in low-wage jobs; there have been minimal increases in wages; and fluctuations in job hours, schedules, and access to benefits make it harder for workers to budget and plan.

While the number of households in poverty has stayed relatively flat from 2007 to 2018, the number of ALICE households has continued to increase as a result of rising costs and stagnant wages.