Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cost of meeting basic needs rising faster than wages in Washington state

21.11.2014

A Washington family of four must spend 46 percent more on average to make ends meet today than 13 years ago, according to a new report from the University of Washington.

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Washington State 2014, released Thursday (Nov. 20), provides a sobering look at how much it costs individuals and families statewide to meet basic needs -- and how far short they're falling.

The study found that Washington families with two adults, a preschooler and a school-aged child saw the costs of meeting their most basic requirements jump as much as 72 percent between 2001 and 2014, depending on where they live. But median wages increased just 21 percent during that time.

"We're looking at a bigger and bigger crunch for people struggling to survive economically," said Diana Pearce, author of the report and the director of the Center for Women's Welfare at the UW School of Social Work.

"Everything's going up, even though people's wages are not," Pearce said. "Costs for basic needs are even going up faster than overall inflation."

Just in the last three years, the cost of basic needs increased 10 percent on average for four-person Washington families, while wages increased just 4 percent.

The report, funded by the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, calculates how much individuals and families must earn in each of the state's 39 counties to cover housing, food, child care, health care, taxes, transportation and other necessities without outside assistance. Costs are based on the numbers of adults and children of varying ages in each household and where the family lives, with 152 different family types included in the report.

Not surprisingly, families with young children needed considerably more money to stay afloat. For example, a single person in Tacoma needs to make $11.06 an hour, or $23,360 annually, to meet basic needs, while a single parent with a preschooler and school-age child must make at least $26.02 hourly, or $54,946 annually.

"That's just the basics," Pearce pointed out. "There's no pizza or latte in the food budget."

The study also found:

Health care and child care were the biggest factors driving up costs for four-person families in Washington, increasing 68 and 70 percent, respectively, between 2001 and 2014. By comparison, housing costs went up 40 percent.

Costs for a four-person family went up the most in Seattle and Walla Walla County, with increases of 62 and 72 percent, respectively.

For a family with a single parent, a preschooler and a school-age child, Seattle was the third-most-expensive city of 14 nationwide, after San Francisco and San Diego.

A Seattle family with two adults, a preschooler and a school-age child needs to make $65,716 annually - the equivalent of more than three full-time minimum wage jobs - to cover costs. In East King County, the same family would need to make $73,914.

A single person in Seattle must make $22,199 to meet basic needs. In East King County, the figure rises to $26,668.


The report also found that of the 10 most common occupations in the state, only two -- software engineering and nursing -- paid enough for a single parent supporting a preschooler and a school-age child to get by in all but the most inexpensive counties, such as Okanogan and Asotin, Pearce said.

Pearce developed the standard while working as the director of a women's organization in Washington, D.C. Since the first report was published in 2001, the standard has been adopted in 37 states and the cities of New York and Washington, D.C.

The Workforce Development Council uses the report in conjunction with a statewide online calculator to help job-seekers figure out what they need to be self-sufficient and connect them with resources that can move them toward that goal.

"The standard serves as an accurate and robust cost-of-living benchmark that supports good career planning and allows us to measure the extent to which our programs help customers progress toward economic self-sufficiency," said Marléna Sessions, the council's chief executive officer.

"Despite our economy's gradual recovery, increases in the cost of living have dramatically outpaced wage growth in Washington state."

The self-sufficiency standard differs from the federal poverty measure by factoring in a range of costs, family composition and geography. The federal poverty level, still the most commonly used benchmark for determining who is defined as poor or in need of public assistance, was created in the 1960s and is based primarily on estimates of minimal food costs. The level is the same nationwide, whether one lives in Manhattan or Mississippi.

"It's so outdated," Pearce said. "It was developed half a century ago, when in two-parent families one parent worked, and one-parent families were on welfare. Child care was rarely a cost.

"Now, basic costs include housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, taxes," she said. "In today's family, you have to budget for all of those things."

For more information, contact Pearce at 206-852-3759 (cell) or pearce@uw.edu. To reach Sessions, contact Danielle Wallace at 206-448-0474, ext. 3002, or dwallace@seakingwdc.org.

Deborah Bach | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uwnews.org/

Further reports about: Social Workforce families food costs health care individuals online calculator

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>