Cost to become self-sufficient in Colorado exceeds Federal Poverty Level

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 1:46pm.

A family of four – two adults, a school-age child and a preschooler – living in Boulder County needs to make about $76,000 a year to meet their basic needs, according to the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado 2015 report.

Published by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the report describes how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet without public or private assistance in each county in Colorado. The Self-Sufficiency Standard is a measure of income adequacy that is based on the costs of basic needs for working families: housing, child care, food, health care, transportation and miscellaneous items, as well as the cost of taxes and the impact of tax credits.

For most workers throughout Colorado the Self-Sufficiency Standard shows that earnings well above the official Federal Poverty Level – $24,250 for a family of four – are nevertheless far below what is needed to meet families’ basic needs.

Douglas and Summit counties are both more expensive than Boulder, with the self-sufficiency standard exceeding $78,000 a year. Bent and Yuma counties’ standards were the lowest in the state at closer to $40,000 and $44,000 a year, respectively.

This report was also published in 2001, 2014, 2008 and 2011. The amount needed to meet the costs of basic needs increased between 2001 and 2015 in all Colorado counties, despite the financial crisis.

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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