D.C. Families Need $88,615 Just To 'Get By,' Study Says | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Families Need $88,615 Just To 'Get By,' Study Says

Play associated audio
It likely comes as no surprise to residents of the nation's capital that it is one of the most expensive regions in the country.
Joshua Bousel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshbousel/197722630/
It likely comes as no surprise to residents of the nation's capital that it is one of the most expensive regions in the country.

A family of four needs to earn $88,615 a year to enjoy a modest existence in the greater Washington D.C. area.

That data comes from the family budget calculator recently updated by the Economic Policy Institute. It takes into account local costs in vital areas such as housing, food, child care, transportation, health care and other necessities.

The costs for the area, which includes D.C. and nearby communities in both Maryland and Virginia, are 40 percent higher than the national median of $63,000. New York City was the only metropolitan area with higher median annual outlays for a family of four at $93,502.

According to the EPI, this data underscores the inadequacy of existing measures of poverty, which use the cost of living on a national level and do not take into account regional variations.

"Our family budget calculations show that the real costs for families to live modest, not even middle class, lives are much higher than conventional estimates show, and for families living on minimum-wage jobs, it is virtually impossible to make ends meet," says Elise Gould, director of health policy research for the Economic Policy Institute.

The data from EPI echoes similar reports about the economic challenges of living in and near D.C. Earlier this year, a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that minimum wage households would have to work at least three full-time jobs in order to pay fair market rent for the area.

This report is particularly relevant in light of the D.C. Council's decision to pass legislation requiring big box retailers like Walmart to pay a "living wage" of $12.50 an hour, a 50 percent increase over the city's existing minimum wage.

Walmart is threatening to withdraw plans for three of six planned stores in the District if the legislation is enacted.

NPR

New Technology Immerses Audiences At Sundance Film Festival

From flying like a bird to walking through a refugee camp in Syria, virtual reality has enabled journalists, filmmakers and artists to immerse their audience in their stories like never before.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: Girl Scout Cookie Coffeemate

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try Girl Scout Cookies in a new form. Coffeemate has somehow blended them into nondairy creamer, so you can start your day the disturbing way.
NPR

At Koch Summit, A Freewheeling Debate Among GOP Hopefuls

Do billionaires have too much influence in both major parties? Three top Republican presidential prospects say no.
NPR

Intended For Millennials, Dish's Sling TV Is A Cord Cutter's Dream

Dish Network soon debuts its Sling TV streaming service, with a small group of cable channels for $20 a month. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans tried it and says Sling TV is a welcome challenge to cable.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.