This United Way ALICE Report provides the most comprehensive look at Michigan residents who are struggling financially: 40 percent of households in Michigan could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation in 2015. Many households are living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but an even greater number of households are what United Way calls ALICE – an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households have incomes above the FPL, but still struggle to afford basic household necessities. Although evidence is emerging that jobs and wages are improving, the percent of households struggling has only improved from 41 percent in 2010 to 40 percent in 2012 and has remained flat since.
This Report focuses on what has changed in Michigan since the first United Way ALICE Report was published three years ago. It updates the cost of basic needs in the Household Survival Budget for each county in Michigan, and the number of households earning below this amount – the ALICE Threshold. It delves deeper into county and municipal data as well as ALICE and poverty-level households by race, ethnicity, age, and household type to reveal variations in hardship that are often masked by state averages. Finally this Report highlights emerging trends that will be important to ALICE in the future.