Across Michigan, 40 percent of households struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, food, health care and transportation.

That's why United Ways across Michigan, with help from the Consumers Energy Foundation, have come together to bring you the ALICE Project. Standing for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet. 


The ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of need in Michigan to date. By unveiling new metrics including the ALICE Threshold, Household Survival Budget and Economic Viability Dashboard, our communities now have the proper tools to discuss need around the state. 

The United Way ALICE Report reveals:

  • More than 60 percent of all jobs in Michigan pay less than $40,000 a year and low-income jobs are projected to dominate the state's economy for the foreseeable future.
  • ALICE is men and women, young and old, of all races, closely mirroring our state's basic demographic make-up. More than 77 percent of the ALICE population is white and 42 percent are within their prime wage-earning years of 45 to 64 years old.
  • Nearly three-quarters of Michigan's 1,529 municipalities have 30 percent or more households unable to make ends meet. The average income needed in order to survive in Michigan depends on local conditions and ranges from $47,000 to $62,000 annually for a family of four, more than double the official poverty U.S. poverty rate
  • Despite the combination of ALICE's wages and some public assistance, ALICE households still face an average 14 percent income gap in order to reach financial stability.

Ignite an awareness of ALICE in your community and work together for change by hosting an ALICE Community Conversation.


View the Community Conversation presentation and download the template by using the SlideShare.


After you're Community Conversation, let us know what you heard. Share your feedback by submitting a quick survey. 


Many of Michigan’s working families have been hit hard by the state’s decade-long economic decline and are still struggling to regain their footing. The Michigan Association of United Ways felt that it was important to delve into the circumstances of working families who still make too little to pay for basic necessities. Only then can we understand the challenges faced by these workers who play a key role in our lives, teaching our children at preschool, getting food to our tables and providing an array of services.

ALICE households are forced to make difficult choices such as skipping preventative health care, accredited child care, healthy food or car insurance. These "savings" threaten their health, safety, and future - and they reduce Michigan's economic productivity and raise insurance premiums and taxes for everyone. The costs are high for both ALICE families and the wider community.


United Way's in Michigan have come together to release the ALICE Report because recognizing the magnitude of the number of households facing financial hardship, as well as the different types of households and problems they confront, will make more effective change possible.