» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments

The Breaking News Blog

All the latest news from the District, Maryland and Virginia

Price tag for 'basic economic security' rising, report says

Video
Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry explains why health-care premiums will increase next year for federal workers and retirees.

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Discussion Policy
Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 10, 2010; 10:12 PM

A family of four needs an income of $108,000 to be financially secure in Fairfax County, the most expensive area to live in the Washington region. An individual without kids or a car can get by on about $32,000 in the District, the cheapest jurisdiction for singles. And a single parent with one child has to pull in almost $62,000 to make it in Prince George's County.

This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story
This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

Those are the conclusions of a detailed cost-of-living analysis by Wider Opportunities for Women, a District-based group that advocates for more job training and financial literacy programs.

In a report being released Monday, the organization calculates how much money is needed to attain what it calls "basic economic security," generally an amount that is three or four times greater than the federal poverty level.

The study, the first of several the group is conducting around the country, grew out of research in which people were asked what would make them feel financially safe.

Most of the people polled described security as having enough to eat, keep a roof over their heads, go to the doctor when they're sick and build up a rainy-day fund, said Joan Kuriansky, WOW's executive director.

The report tries to calculate how much money is needed for the Washington area's residents to reach that goal. It includes tables configured for individuals and families, with separate tables for those who have employer-provided health insurance and those who do not.

The tables include the costs of everything from child care to transportation to work-related expenses like professional clothing. They also include modest monthly savings for emergencies and retirement. But they do not set aside savings for college education or a down payment on a house.

Utilities include a land-line phone, but not a cellphone.

At least one car was considered a necessity in the suburbs, but it was assumed District residents would take public transportation, shaving $220 or more from monthly expenses.

Fairfax County was the most expensive in every category, followed by Montgomery County. The District cost the least for childless singles, but as soon as a child entered the picture, Prince George's County became the cheapest place to live.

In most instances, the biggest monthly expense for working couples with two or more offspring was child care, ahead of housing and taxes.

In WOW's analysis, single mothers are particularly squeezed. In most jurisdictions, the median income for working women who are raising children alone is well beneath WOW's economic security figure. In many of the tables, two working parents earning the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would each have to work one full-time and one part-time job to reach financial security.


CONTINUED     1        >


» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments

More from Virginia

[The Presidential Field]

Blog: Virginia Politics

Here's a place to help you keep up with Virginia's overcaffeinated political culture.

Local Blog Directory

Find a Local Blog

Plug into the region's blogs, by location or area of interest.

FOLLOW METRO ON:
Facebook Twitter RSS
|
GET LOCAL ALERTS:
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile