How Do Families Get By?

Pgh Family

I look at the young families today and wonder how they are getting by with all of the additional expenses of raising children today. Looking at the newest results from The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, it turns out they don’t.

The basic family budget for a two-parent, two-child family ranges from $49,114 in Morristown, Tenn. to $106,493 in Washington, D.C. In the Pittsburgh, this same 4- unit family needs $5,391 per month or $64,691 per year to secure a decent, modest standard of living. Among the same 4-person unit, childcare costs exceed rent in 500 out of 618 family budgets, accounting on average for 20 percent of the budget.

Many parents in low-wage jobs simply will not earn enough. Annual wages for one full-time, full-year worker earning the federal minimum wage total is $15,080 well below the federal poverty line of $16,317 not to mention spending a significant portion of it for associated costs of transportation to and from work and childcare.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); childcare subsidies and tax credits; food stamps (i.e., the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); and subsidies for housing, transportation, and health care can help but I’m sure our kinder need, want and desire more.

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