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Group releases budget calculator of ‘real cost’ of living for families

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The average one-parent, one-child household in the Winston-Salem metropolitan statistical area needs about $44,000 in annual income to have a “modest, economically secure life,” according to a national think tank.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit group, has released the 2013 version of a budget calculator on its website – www.epi.org/resources/budget/ — that factors in the “real costs for families.” It lists families with one and two parents for up to three children in each case.

The calculator, which contains data for 615 communities, includes just the Triad metropolitan areas. The remaining counties in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina are lumped into the rural category.

The calculator is the most hands-on piece of a new EPI report titled “What families need to get by.” The calculator includes monthly costs for housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities and taxes. It factors in geographic cost-of-living differences, though N.C.’s metro areas are listed with similar expenses.

The institute’s main point is that the real cost of a one-parent, one-child household is nearly three times what an employee in a full-time minimum-wage job makes at $15,080 a year.

For a two-parent, two-child household in the Winston-Salem MSA (Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Yadkin counties), the annual requirement for a modest, economically secure life is $53,664.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal