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Nearly one million children in Michigan live in households that cannot afford basic necessities

Generic Child
Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 18:25:01-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A new report focusing on children growing up in financial hardship has been released.

It looks at numbers across the state of Michigan.

The report outlines there are nearly one million children in Michigan living in a household that cannot afford the basic necessities.
United Way of South Central Michigan is hoping to share the information with government officials and their local partners.

"Data is power, and so it will be in our plan to share this information and to use it to inform different strategies that we have across the state and across our regional footprint," said United Way of South Central Michigan Chief Impact Officer Alyssa Stewart.

The ALICE in Focus report on children looks at households of families in poverty as well as those are are ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

"Fundamentally, ALICE households are ones that which the money coming in through work and other means is just not enough to meet the basic needs of the household in line items like housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare, so those core expenses that we all know and have as we manage our lives and our budgets," said Stewart.

The report using data from 2019 found 44% of children in Michigan lived in households experiencing that financial hardship.

Stewart said the data also mirrors a lot of disparities they see in ALICE data overall.

"Our black and Hispanic/Latin-x households, those children are experiencing much higher rates of being in ALICE households than their white counterparts. There are many systemic inequities that play into that," said Stewart.

In the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage, for all children, 59% are living below the ALICE threshold.

"If you look at just zero to two year olds, 76% of zero to two year olds in the city of Portage and the city of Kalamazoo are living below the ALICE threshold. It improves slightly if you look at three to four year olds which is childcare age. Still though, 66% of those very young children are living in households that are below the ALICE threshold," said Stewart.

Looking at race, the numbers are even higher.

Stewart said these numbers are from before the pandemic.

Now, they're expecting even higher numbers for these populations since COVID.

That's why United Way of South Central Michigan is hoping to share this data with as many organizations who help households below the ALICE threshold or in poverty.

"Really overall what the report shows is that there are many more people than what we expect who are struggling to meet that very basic survival budget because wages are not keeping up with the increases in the cost of living," said Stewart.

United Way of South Central Michigan said the more in-depth localized ALICE report is expected to be released in around two weeks.