By Mike Kruzman /

Roughly 1-in-4 Livingston County households were struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic even hit, according to a new report from the United Way.

The Michigan Association of United Ways, which includes the Livingston County branch, has released the 2021 ALICE Report, which studies the condition of working families in the state. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

County-level data shows 24% of local households were struggling in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic. This is actually a 2% improvement from the previous study with 2017’s numbers, except that it does not include 2020 and the impacts of COVID.

Livingston County United Way Executive Director Anne Rennie said, in a release, that the COVID impacts locally can be seen in the number of people who have reached out for supports like food, cash assistance, and unemployment. She said this will inevitably impact the next report as many industries were closed in 2020 and are slowly getting back to work this year.

One of the new areas ALICE tracks is the Senior Survival Budget which represents household costs for residents 65 and older, including housing, technology, transportation, food, and health insurance premiums. The Senior Survival Budget in Livingston County is $28,272 yearly, compared to $25,344 for a single adult locally, and is significantly more than the Federal Poverty Level of $12,490. These numbers suggest a high cost of living in the community.

A copy of the complete study can be found below.

View county-level data through the link below.