FINANCIAL STABILITY

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The Self-Sufficiency Standard of North Carolina 2017

As the labor market continues to change, more and more families struggle to stretch their wages to meet the costs of basic necessities. Though these families are often not deemed “poor” by the official poverty measure, they lack enough income to see the rising costs of food, housing, transportation, health care, and other essentials. 

The Self-Sufficiency Standard of North Carolina 2017 tracks the true cost of living for families in North Carolina today. It highlights the growing gap between sluggish wages and ever-increasing expenses, clearly illuminating the economic “crunch” experienced by so many families today. By tracking the true cost of living facing American families, the Standard allows for comparisons of geographic differences as well as documentation of historical trends. 

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for North Carolina 2017 defines the amount of income necessary to meet the basic needs of North Carolina Families, differentiated by family type and where they live. The standard calculates the costs of six basic needs plus taxes and tax credits. It assumes the full cost of each need, without help from the public subsidies (public housing, Medicaid, or child care assistance) or private/informal assistance (unpaid babysitting by a relative or friend, food from food banks, or shared housing). More than 700 family compositions for each of NC’s 100 counties are calculated. See The Self-Sufficiency Standard Budget Worksheet Exercise to calculate.

The Self-Sufficiency Standard will help local United Ways and their partners build a case for collaborative strategies that will meet community challenges and create lasting change.