The Cost of Being Self-Sufficient in Colorado Keeps Inching Up

On average, Coloradans needed to earn 53 percent more money to get by without public assistance in 2015 as compared to 2001, according to the current “Self-Sufficiency Standard” released June 11 by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, an advocacy organization for lower income Coloradans.

Self-sufficiency is defined as the amount an individual or family needs to earn to meet their basic needs without public assistance, such as Medicaid or public housing, or private help, such as donations from a food bank or free babysitting from a relative. The calculations are meant to be a more accurate measure of the cost of basic needs than the federal poverty level.

The standard is calculated by researchers at the University of Washington, who use data from agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau on housing, childcare, food, transportation, taxes, emergency savings and miscellaneous costs such as clothing, shoes and diapers. The calculations also account for a family’s potential earnings through tax credits.

To read the entire report, and to plug your personal circumstances into an interactive graphic to determine your self-sufficiency requirements, click here.

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