The 2019 ALICE report for Michigan provides many examples of assertions that are not supported with evidence. The executive summary of that report declares, “Many ALICE households continue to face challenges from low wages, reduced work hours, depleted savings, and increasing costs.” But the wages, work hours or saving levels of ALICE households are not reported or shown to be inadequate.
Another section of the report claims that although Michigan’s economy generally improved from 2009 to 2017, ALICE households did not benefit. It lays blame for this at the feet of “low wages; lack of full-time work; and income disparities by gender and sexual orientation, education, and race/ethnicity.” But the report does not connect any of these issues to the ALICE households it identifies. It provides no evidence that the listed reasons are problems disproportionately affecting ALICE households, nor does it provide evidence that these households failed to financially benefit from 2009 to 2017.
Another example from the 2019 Michigan report comes in a section titled “How much does ALICE earn?” It reports that 61% of jobs in Michigan pay under $20 per hour, 29% pay $20 to $40 per hour and 8% pay between $40 and $60 per hour. But no attempt is made to link these data points to ALICE households. As such, these statistics do not provide any information about the wages of people living in ALICE households, so the section’s heading is misleading.
The 2019 report includes other instances where it implies or asserts a fact or characteristic about people living in households that meet the ALICE definition that are not justified. This is not to say that no ALICE households have these characteristics, just that the report does not offer evidence that this is the case. Below is a list of some of these assertions about people in ALICE households made in the 2019 report.
Because the report claims that about 40% of all Michigan households meet the ALICE standard, many of these statements, of course, may be true. But the report provides no evidence to support these claims. It simply describes a variety of hardships that some people face, financial or otherwise, and assumes that these disproportionately affect households below the ALICE thresholds.
In the end, these unjustified assertions provide little value. They do not help identify ways to help employed households with limited assets and constrained incomes, which is the primary goal of the report.