Do you know ALICE?

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

We partnered with United Ways across Michigan, with help from the Consumers Energy Foundation, to bring you the ALICE Project. Through this research, we found that 39 percent of households in Kent County are struggling to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. 

Who is A.L.I.C.E.?

Standing for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet. ALICE households earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Combined with the number of people living at or below the poverty line, ALICE equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs.


Total Population Struggling to Afford Basic Needs Across Kent County


What does the ALICE report describe?

  • Household Survival Budget: Cost of basic necessitates (housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation).
  • ALICE Threshold: The income a household needs to afford the basics.
  • ALICE Income Assessment: Calculation of all sources of income and assistance for ALICE and poverty level households.
  • Economic Viability Index: Economic conditions that impact the ease or difficulty for households to support themselves financially.

Consequences of living below the ALICE Threshold

There are serious consequences for both ALICE households and their communities. 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.

ALICE workers are essential to the fabric of our society. ALICE works in jobs that are integral to our communities, from child care educators and home health aides to mechanics – we rely on every day. The future success of our communities is directly tied to the financial stability of ALICE households. When ALICE suffers and is forced to make difficult choices, we all face serious consequences.

What are we doing to help ALICE?

  1. We are raising awareness about ALICE and continuing the dialogue among community leaders about how, together, we can provide ALICE an opportunity to succeed.
  2. We are breaking stereotypes and educating that ALICE not only exists here in Michigan, but is growing, and that ALICE's struggles affect the economic well-being of all residents.
  3. We are shedding light on the underlying causes keeping ALICE from succeeding. United Way currently works to provide some short-, medium-, and long-term solutions for ALICE.