To use the “Family Budget Calculator” simply enter your city, state or zip code. The budgets generated “estimate community-specific costs for 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children) in 618 locations,” says the EPI, “Compared with the federal poverty line and Supplemental Poverty Measure, EPI’s family budgets provide a more accurate and complete measure of economic security in America.”
Entering “Rhode Island” for two adults and two children brings results for the Providence/Fall River metro area, where monthly costs of living are estimated at $5,955, or $71,455 annually. This includes $913 for housing and $1338 for child care. One adult with no children needs to generate $2,543 monthly/$30,522 annually to maintain a “secure yet modest standard of living.”
Needless to say, many Rhode Island families are not meeting this basic income level. Locally, the Economic Progress Institute launched an online “Cost of Living Calculator” that showed that “Rhode Island’s recent move to raise the minimum wage from $9 to $9.60 is not nearly sufficient… since a ‘single adult without children needs to earn $24,640 a year or $11.85/hour to meet his or her basic needs.’”
The EPI report is one more indication that Rhode Island is not on the right track economically when it comes to working families. Members of the General Assembly need to take note.
The EPI describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States. EPI’s research helps policymakers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists, and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Americans.”