Working hard but struggling to get by. That's ALICE.

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed-working people who earn above the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford a bare-bones household budget. These households struggle to manage even their most basic needs, such as housing, food, transportation, child care, health care and other necessities.

When funds run short, cash-strapped households are forced to make impossible choices. Deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. Filling a prescription or fixing the car. These short-term decisions have long-term consequences not only for ALICE families, but for all of us.

Help ALICE families build a better future.


Nearly half of the households in our community struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, child care, food, technology, health care, and transportation.

Muskegon Snapshot: 

Muskegon Snapshot

Newaygo Snapshot: 

Newaygo Snapshot ALICE 2021

Oceana Snapshot: 

Oceana Snapshot ALICE 2021

Traditional economic measures underestimate the actual cost of basics. To better capture the reality of household costs in each Michigan county, United For ALICE provides budgets that are tailored by county and household type.

These budgets include housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology (smartphone plan), plus taxes and a 10% miscellaneous category.

The ALICE Household Survival Budget

The Household Survival Budget reflects the minimum cost to live and work in the modern economy. This budget is the basis for determining whether households are above or below the ALICE Threshold by county.

  • Housing
  • Childcare
  • Food
  • Transporation
  • Technology
  • Health Care
  • Taxes
  • Miscellaneous

In 2021, household costs in every county in Michigan were well above the Federal Poverty Level of $12,880 for a single adult and $26,500 for a family of four. Overall, household costs increased in Michigan between 2019 and 2021.

ALICE Household Survival Budget for the Lakeshore (Muskegon, Newaygo, & Oceana Counties) 2021

ALICE Survival Budget, Lakeshore Region, 2021
*2023 Report