A family of four in California would need an average of more than $63,000 a year – nearly triple the federal poverty level – to cover its basic needs, according to an analysis of the state’s cost of living to be released today.
The 2011 Self-Sufficiency Standard, released by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a national research organization, shows that in every county in California, the federal poverty level falls short of meeting basic needs: housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and other essential household expenses.
Taking all these costs into consideration, the standard calculates the minimum annual income required for 156 family compositions in each county. The pre-tax income needed to make ends meet for a family of two working, married adults; a preschooler; and a primary school-aged child ranged from $53,775 in Tulare County to $86,629 in Marin County. For a family of four, the 2011 federal poverty level, which is based on the cost of food alone and does not take into account regional cost-of-living differences in the contiguous United States, is $22,350.