The income level necessary for families to secure an adequate but modest living standard is an important economic yardstick. While poverty thresholds help to evaluate what it takes for families to live free of serious economic deprivation, the EPI Family Budget Calculator—recently updated for 2013—offers a broader measure of economic welfare.
This working paper presents the methodology and data sources used to compute the Economic Policy Institute’s 2013 Family Budget Calculator.
Definition of family
The size of a family dramatically affects the budget needed to maintain a safe and comfortable, but modest, standard of living.
Though there has been some improvement over the last year, job prospects for young graduates remain dim. Thus, the Class of 2013 will be the fifth consecutive graduating class to enter the labor market during a period of profound weakness.
Today’s GDP report was unexpectedly disappointing, but the economy is likely not entering recession. The downward drag on GDP growth that pushed into negative territory was mostly exerted by changes in private inventories (which are volatile and unlikely to provide a consistent drag on GDP going forward) and a large reduction in defense spending that is also unlikely to be repeated.
There has been some discussion lately that the growth of income inequality—especially the trends favoring the top 1.0 percent—had been reversed in the recent downturn and, therefore, policymakers need not focus on the overall increase in income inequality since the late 1970s. However, newly available data indicate that the top 1.0 percent are seeing their wages rebound quite strongly in the recovery.
Today’s report on gross domestic product (GDP) came with more news of disappointing growth. The economy has grown at an average rate of 1.75 percent so far this year.
Yesterday, we critiqued an essay by James Q. Wilson on income inequality. Today, it’s New York Times columnist David Brooks’ turn.
The incomes of the top 1 percent have fallen in the last two recessions because their incomes were disproportionately affected (through capital gains and stock options, among other things) by the steep decline in the stock market that occurred in the early 2000s and in the recent financial crisis.
Sometimes, it’s worth documenting the obvious. A recession causes income losses for families pretty much across the board, but much more so the lower your income.
This morning’s release by the U.S. Census Bureau of the 2010 data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage is yet another reminder of the real and human consequences of the Great Recession and its aftermath.
During the last two downturns, the highest the unemployment rate reached was 7.8% before declining again. The Great Recession has been far worse for the job market.