ALICE Project

The 2023 ALICE Report for Michigan


Michigan ALICE Report 2023


CLICK HERE to view an interactive version of the report.

CLICK HERE to view the Ottawa County Profile Page. 

CLICK HERE to view the Allegan County Profile Page. 


United Ways throughout Michigan have come together to bring you the ALICE Project. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents those in our communities who are working, yet still struggling to make ends meet.

Households across Michigan, comprised of all races, genders, and ages, cannot afford the basics - housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. When households face difficult economic conditions and cannot afford basic necessities, they are forced to make difficult choices and take risks that have consequences for their households and their communities.

Here in both Ottawa and Allegan Counties, 31% of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet


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New in 2022! ALICE in Focus Reports that explore subgroups of people living under the ALICE threshold. 

Children of ALICE - April Release
People Living With A Disability - July Release
Veterans & Military Personnel - November Release

The Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) released today its first report of the new 2022 ALICE in Focus Series, thanks to the generous support of the Consumers Energy Foundation. The series features three reports, each highlighting a different demographic group within Michigan’s ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – population: Children, those with Disabilities, and Veterans. The first report spotlights children growing up in financial hardship, in households that have an income but still struggle to afford essentials such as housing, childcare, food, transportation, and healthcare, among other needs. According to the 2022 ALICE In Focus: Children Report, nearly one million (44%) of Michigan children in 2019 lived in a household with an income below the ALICE Threshold. Of that 44%, 17% lived under the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and 27% earned above the FPL but did not earn enough to afford the basics in the communities where they lived.






New research: 48% of People with Disabilities in Michigan are Living in Financial Hardship

New report reveals that federal poverty data significantly undercounts how many people with disabilities are struggling to afford the basics.

The number of people with disabilities in Michigan who struggle to afford the basics is far higher than federal poverty data indicates — 48% compared to 19% — according to a new report from United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties and its research partner United For ALICE.

In 2019, while 19% of residents with disabilities were deemed in poverty, 28% were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than what it costs to live and work in the modern economy. Combined, 48% of Michigan residents living with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold, with income that doesn’t meet the basic costs of housing, child care, health care, transportation, and a smartphone plan.

“On the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we see that residents with physical, mental or emotional conditions who are struggling financially are not only being undercounted but underserved,” said United For ALICE National Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D. “There is still work to do as having a disability puts individuals at substantial risk for financial instability, more than many other factors. Daily, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, these individuals face barriers to accessing quality education, secure jobs, and critical support.”

The ALICE in Focus: People With Disabilities report and interactive tools reveal that during the pandemic, people with disabilities below the ALICE Threshold were four times more likely to be anxious than those without disabilities.

The new research also shows that outdated federal guidelines prevent the majority of residents with disabilities who are living in financial hardship from accessing critical public assistance. According to the new report, a staggering 82% of residents with disabilities below the ALICE Threshold did not receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The program requires that recipients have income below the poverty level, be unable to work, have a “severe” impairment and have less than $2,000 in their bank accounts, $3,000 if they are a married couple.


Other findings from ALICE in Focus: People With Disabilities include:

Demographics Disparities:

  • Black and Hispanic residents with disabilities — 65% and 54% respectively — disproportionately experienced financial hardship compared to 43% of white people with disabilities.
  • Females with disabilities struggled more to afford the basics — 51% — compared to 44% of males with disabilities.
  • Michigan saw 59% of residents with disabilities below the ALICE Threshold spend 35% or more of their income on their mortgage, plus utilities, taxes and insurance.
  • Whether working full or part-time, people with disabilities were more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck than those without disabilities:
    • 21% of full-time workers with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold compared to 16% of full-time workers without disabilities.
    • 53% of part-time workers with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold compared to 36% of part-time workers without disabilities.

Other Key Findings:

  • Among people age 25 & over with only a high school diploma or GED, 49% of those with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold compated to 31% of those without disabilities. This trend continues through all levels of higher education.
  • Nearly 20% of people with disabilities under age 65 living below the ALICE Threshold were not enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare in Michigan.
  • More than 330,000 people with disabilities in Michigan lived alone in 2019.
  • Even in households with two working adults, 33% of children with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold. With only one out of two parents working, this rate increased to 63%. Even more drastic, children with a disability who lived in a single-parent home or with a guardian were even more likely to be below the threshold at 84%.

More data is available through the ALICE in Focus: People With Disabilities interactive data dashboard, which provides filters for regional and local geographies, age, race, disability status, living arrangements and household work status. Visit ALICE in Focus: People With Disabilities marks the second installment in the ALICE in Focus Research Series, which draws from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). Each installment in the series highlights a specific segment within the ALICE demographic. The first installment focused on children; the next report will feature veterans.





Past Reports


CLICK HERE to view the 2019 Michigan ALICE Report

CLICK HERE to view the 2019 Ottawa County ALICE Report (includes MI data as well)

CLICK HERE to view the 2019 Allegan County ALICE Report (includes MI data as well)

CLICK HERE to view the 2019 Ottawa County Profile Page

CLICK HERE to view the 2019 Allegan County Profile Page

CLICK HERE to view the 2017 Michigan ALICE Report

CLICK HERE to view the 2014 Michigan ALICE Report



Additional ALICE Resources


Online ALICE Resources:

Interactive ALICE Website (MI): (Local data available)

ALICE Project Site (MI):

ALICE Consequences Report (2019):

Take The Making Ends Meet Challenge: