Mission: To measure the income a family needs in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living.
Background: An independent, nonprofit think tank, the Economic Policy Institute was created in 1986 to represent the economic condition of low- and middle-income Americans and their families in policy discussions and help policy makers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists, and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Americans. To that end, the organization conducts research on working Americans' economic status and proposes policy solutions designed to protect and improve economic security for low- and middle-income workers.
Outstanding Web Features: The Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family would need in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living in any of the 3,171 counties and county-equivalents in the United States as well as more than six hundred metropolitan areas. The tool allows users to generate monthly and annual cost estimates for ten different family types (one or two adults with zero to four children) based on seven individual components — housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, taxes, and "other necessities." Users interested in learning more about how their costs stack up against costs in other parts of the country can generate family budget fact sheets for their county, learn more about the methodology behind the tool, and check out an interactive Family Budget Map presentation of the data.