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Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

Joan and Sanford Weill hall
Suite 5100
735 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091


  • Population 9,995,915
  • Median Income $ 56,640
  • Percent Below Poverty Level 14%
  • Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level 19.3%
  • ALICE 29%
  • With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits 12.6%
  • Life Expectancy 78.3
  • Single parent households 34%
  • Homeless by 5th grade 7.6%
Northern Michigan
  • Population 945,605
  • Median Income $ 46,719
  • Percent Below Poverty Level 15.1%
  • Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level 21.1%
  • ALICE 29.9%
  • With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits 13.2%
  • Life Expectancy N/A
  • Single parent households 31.7%
  • Homeless by 5th grade 11.8%
  • Population 1,990,721
  • Median Income $ 50,931
  • Percent Below Poverty Level 16.5%
  • Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level 22.3%
  • ALICE 27.7%
  • With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits 14.4%
  • Life Expectancy N/A
  • Single parent households 35.5%
  • Homeless by 5th grade 9.3%
Western Michigan
  • Population 2,154,698
  • Median Income $ 55,842
  • Percent Below Poverty Level 13.6%
  • Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level 18%
  • ALICE 27.2%
  • With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits 14.4%
  • Life Expectancy N/A
  • Single parent households 31.8%
  • Homeless by 5th grade 10.2%
Southeast Michigan
  • Population 4,903,398
  • Median Income $ 58,942
  • Percent Below Poverty Level 15%
  • Under 18 Years Below Poverty Level 21.6%
  • ALICE 29.4%
  • With Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits 13.3%
  • Life Expectancy N/A
  • Single parent households 35.3%
  • Homeless by 5th grade 5% *



Population is a good way to make sure you’re comparing similarly sized counties in terms of poverty.

Median Income

We use median income (and not average income) to demonstrate the typical income of a household in that county.

Poverty Rate

The percent of the population below the federal poverty line.

Child Poverty Rate

The percent of children under 18 who are in households under the poverty line.


ALICE is an indicator developed by the United Way. It stands for: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE is a way to get a snapshot of the working poor, a group that’s not captured in the percent below the poverty rate. This indicator is calculated at the household level, not the individual level. See the full United Way project here.

*For a full picture of the percent of people who are financially living on the edge, the percent ALICE and percent below poverty should be added together.


SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the country’s most robust social safety net program. It is one of very few programs that families who apply and qualify are guaranteed to receive. All funding for SNAP comes from the federal government.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is a good proxy for overall health of a region – the better the lifetime health of individuals and the better the access to healthcare, the longer the life expectancy. This indicator is from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Single-Parent Household

Studies show a strong relationship between the percent of single parent households and a lack of social mobility in a region. This indicator is pulled from the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings.


Percent of Children Who Experienced Homelessness During Elementary School: Under federal education law all children and youth who “lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” are homeless. These children not only lack a stable place to call home, they are more likely to transfer schools, have long commutes, struggle with poor health, and be chronically absent than their non-homeless peers. This indicator is calculated by Poverty Solutions using MERI – Michigan Education Data Center.

*There is evidence of an undercount of homeless students in this county or region.

Gothic stone arches in the Law Quadrangle

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