Report: $70k delivers ‘modest’ standard of living in MN

What’s it take for you to “get by” month to month?

If you’re a typical two-adult, two-kids family in the Twin Cities, it’s probably about this:

Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute released its “What It Takes to Get By” today, which measures how much income a family needs for a “modest” standard of living.

Not a 2+2 household? How about this?


The highlights of the report indicate the Twin Cities falls about in the middle of the range for families in the U.S.

* The basic family budget for a two-parent, two-child family ranges from $49,114 (Morristown, Tenn.) to $106,493 (Washington, D.C.). In the median family budget area for this family type, Des Moines, Iowa, a two-parent, two-child family needs $63,741 to secure an adequate but modest living standard. This is well above the 2014 poverty threshold of $24,008 for this family type.

* For a two-parent, two-child household, housing ranges from 10.2 percent of a family’s budget in Binghamton, N.Y., to 25.6 percent in San Francisco. Housing for this family type is most expensive in San Francisco ($1,956 per month), and is least expensive in Franklin, Poinsett, and Grant counties in Arkansas ($561 per month).

* Across regions and family types, child care costs account for the greatest variability in family budgets. Monthly child care costs for a two-parent, one-child household range from $344 in rural South Carolina to $1,472 in Washington, D.C. In the latter, monthly child care costs for a two-parent, three-child household are $2,784—nearly 90 percent higher than for a two-parent, one-child household.

* Among two-parent, two-child families, child care costs exceed rent in 500 out of 618 family budget areas.

* Even in the best of economic times, many parents in low-wage jobs will not earn enough through work to meet basic family needs. Annual wages for one full-time, full-year worker earning the federal minimum wage total $15,080. Even when accounting for higher minimum wages in states and localities, this 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.