WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) — How much does a family need to sustain a modest standard of living these days? More than ever before, according to a new study release by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
In most large cities across the United States, meeting the basic level of financial security — including putting food on the table, paying the mortgage or rent and having health care — costs far beyond the federal poverty line, a measure often used to indicate how much a family needs to survive. There are only 140 communities and regions where a family can meet the basic economic needs for less than $60,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator released Wednesday.
In more populated areas, such as New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, that same standard of living costs some $90,000 a year.
The institute collected data in 618 metro areas across the country for several different family sizes. The calculator found the basic family budget for a two-parent, two-children household ranges from $49,114 (Morristown, Tenn.) to $106,493 (Washington, D.C.). In the median family budget for this size family, those in Des Moines, Iowa need $63,741 to keep an adequate but modest living standard. This is well above the 2014 poverty threshold of $24,008 for this family type.
“It is clear that even in the best of economic times, many parents in low-wage jobs will not earn enough through work to meet basic family needs,” the institute said. “Even when accounting for higher minimum wages in states and localities, a full-time, full-year minimum-wage worker is paid below what is necessary for one adult to meet her local family budget—and far below what it takes for an adult with even just one child to make ends meet anywhere.”