Research Center • Michigan

We all know people who are ALICEAsset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet do not earn enough to support their own families. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, which have long-term consequences not only for ALICE, but for all.

In order to better understand this growing population, United For ALICE provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to inform policy and drive innovation. The Research Center is the hub of — a one-stop source for exploring the latest ALICE data, on a national scale down to the local level in our partner states. Use the tabs below to navigate the Research Center.

Michigan • 2019 County Profiles

Counties are the core geography for ALICE data: They reveal variations often masked by statewide averages, and the data is reported regularly and reliably. Use the tool below to create a County Profile of key aspects of all counties in the state, including details related to county demographics, the cost of living, and the labor landscape.

County Profile Tool

How Has the Number of ALICE Households Changed Over Time?

ALICEAsset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county (the ALICE Threshold). While conditions have improved for some households, many continue to struggle, especially as wages fail to keep pace with the cost of household essentials (housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a basic smartphone plan).


What Types of Households Are Struggling?

In the past few decades, there have been major shifts in household composition. The share of American adults who have never been married is at a historic high, as is the number of senior households. There is also a growing number of people who live alone or with roommates, and an increasing share of grown children who live with their parents. Yet all types of households continue to struggle: ALICE and poverty-level households exist across all of these living arrangements.


Why Do So Many Households Struggle?

The cost of household basics outpaces wages...

The Household Survival Budget reflects the bare minimum cost to live and work in the modern economy and includes housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, technology (a smartphone plan), and taxes. It does not include savings for emergencies or future goals like college or retirement. In 2019, household costs were well above the Federal Poverty Level of $12,490 for a single adult and $25,750 for a family of four.

One Adult,
One Child
One Adult, One
In Child Care

Two Adults
Two School-Age
Two Adults, Two
In Child Care

...and the labor landscape is challenging for ALICE workers.

A breakdown of the labor force shows a small portion of adults (16 years and older) who are unemployed and a large number who are working. However, a significant portion of full- and part-time workers are paid by the hour; these workers are more likely to have fluctuations in income and less likely to receive benefits. There is also a high number of workers outside of the labor force (people who are not employed and not looking for work), which has helped keep wages low: When more workers are available, employers have less incentive to raise wages to attract employees.


How Does the Number of ALICE Households Vary Within the County?

There is significant variation in the number of households who live below the ALICE Threshold within the county. Explore the map and table below to learn more. The maps are shaded to show the percentage of households that are below the ALICE Threshold (poverty-level and ALICE households combined). The darker the blue, the higher the percentage.

County SubdivisionTotal Households% Below ALICE