What Does It Cost to Meet Basic Needs?

At a time when unemployment is high and poverty is a pressing issue, new data show that the cost of making ends meet has increased.

New self-sufficiency data, released today by the Insight Center for Economic Development and available now on kidsdata.org, show how much income is required to meet basic needs. On kidsdata.org, we show the self-sufficiency standard for three family types: two adults and an infant, two adults and a school-aged child, and two adults and a teenager. The standard assumes that both adults work full time, and shows what they need to make in order to cover costs for housing, food, child care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, transportation, and other necessary spending.

In many California counties, the cost of meeting basic needs increased from 2008 to 2011. The Insight Center reports the reason for this increase is a combination of the rising cost of health care, child care, and taxes. See the center’s data on all family types.

For households with two adults and one infant in Alameda County, the cost of living increased by more than $8,000 between 2008 and 2011. In other Bay Area counties the increase was even greater — Santa Clara County saw an increase of nearly $14,000. In Southern California, Los Angeles County households of this type saw an increase of more than $9,000 between 2008 and 2011. Other Southern California counties such as Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino saw more modest increases.

Among households with two adults and one school-aged child, every county had an increase in the cost of living — especially Santa Clara County, which had an increase of nearly $10,000. For households with two adults and a teenager, most counties experienced an increase in the cost of living between 2008 and 2011, but for 12 counties (i.e., Colusa, Glenn, Imperial, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba), the cost of living decreased.

Find the cost of living in your county>>

Note: The Self-Sufficiency Standard data come from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and Dr. Diana Pearce, Center for Women’s Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Washington. For more information, see http://www.selfsufficiencystandard.org/pubs.html.


Posted by Felicity Simmons

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 8:07 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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