Self-Sufficiency Standard

The Self-Sufficiency Standard measures the level of income needed to meet a family’s basic needs without public or private assistance. It includes the minimum necessities, but does not include longer-term needs such as college or retirement savings or short-term “luxuries” like dining out or holiday gifts. It is also separated by state.

The goal of making the Standard as standardized and accurate as possible, yet varied geographically and by age, requires meeting several different criteria. As much as possible, the figures are collected or calculated using standardized or equivalent methodology, come from scholarly or credible sources such as the U.S. Bureau of the Census, are updated at least annually, and are age-and/or geographically-specific (where appropriate).

The reports range from households with one adult and no children to two adults with 3 teenagers.