EPI’s Family Budget Calculator compiles the costs of essentials such as housing, food, child care, transportation and health care in different regions of the country to provide an estimate of how much families need to get by.
While the U.S. Census Bureau in the 1960s developed a methodology for calculating poverty thresholds, that system has not been updated to reflect changes in the economy over the last 50 years, such as significantly higher health care costs. As a result, it often underestimates the actual amount a working family needs to cover essentials. Unlike the official poverty threshold, which is the same nationwide, the Family Budget Calculator provides estimates of costs by state, city, metropolitan or rural area. In some cases it shows families need more than twice the amount of the official poverty thresholds to pay for food, housing and other essentials.
Family budgets are for the year 2007 (revised data posted July 2008).
Note: While this online calculator does work for most people, several visitors have recently reported that they have been unable to use it. EPI is working to identify and resolve the problem as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, you might try accessing the page from another web browser, or from another PC. You might also download the data set used by this calculator in Excel format. If you have further questions about this problem, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.