COVID-19 Justice

Report: 39% of Kalamazoo households struggling financially

Before the pandemic even began, more than a third of Kalamazoo County families were having a hard time making ends meet.

Financial stability is but a dream for a large number of people in Kalamazoo County.

Out of the roughly 103,000 households in the county, 39% don’t bring in enough money to be considered financially stable. That’s the finding of the 2021 ALICE report released Wednesday by the Michigan Association of United Ways.

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The data comes from 2019, before the pandemic began and economic conditions worsened for many people already living on the edge.

ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” It references people who have jobs but don’t make enough income to afford basic necessities despite being technically above the poverty level.

“By showing how many Michigan households were struggling in 2019, the 2021 ALICE Report provides the backstory for why the COVID-19 crisis is having such a devastating economic impact,” said Mike Larson, CEO of the Michigan Association of United Ways.

When the pandemic hit, unemployment quickly spiked in Michigan, reaching 24% in April 2020. That rate has since subsided – declining to 5.7% in January. But even with jobs, many people find it hard to make a living.

The report goes on to say that even necessary jobs, such as those in the medical field, barely make enough to get by. A majority of workers classified as “nurturers” – including those in healthcare and education – made less than $20 an hour in 2019.

The report is meant to highlight areas where society can improve and is used to help the United Way target its programs.

You can read more on MLive.

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