Throughout our state, incomes above the Federal Poverty Level are still far below what is necessary for families to meet their basic needs. Though these families are often not deemed “poor” by the official poverty measure, they lack enough income to meet the rising costs of food, housing, transportation, health care and other essentials. New research called The Self-Sufficiency Standard for North Carolina tracks the true cost of living facing North Carolina’s families today by defining 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 cost of six basic needs plus taxes and tax credits. It assumes the full cost of each need, without help from public subsidies or private/informal assistance.
Self-sufficiency not only requires the ability to secure the costs of daily basic needs, but it also requires the creation of an emergency savings fund and finding the right asset-building pathway. The Economic Security Pathways Report, a companion report for the Self-Sufficiency Standard, focuses on the asset-building piece of long-term financial stability.