Cost of Living Research
How do we define a family-supporting wage? To answer this question JOBS NOW has created family budgets that measure the cost of meeting basic needs for food, housing, health care, clothing, transportation and child care. JOBS NOW defines a family-supporting wage as one that covers the cost of basic needs.
Our Cost of Living budgets are based on a "no-frills" standard of living. No money is included for debt payments or skills training. There is no entertainment budget, no restaurant meals, no vacation, and nothing for emergencies, retirement, or children's education. There is no money for internet service or cable TV—only basic phone service. The basic needs standard falls short of what is usually called a middle-class standard of living.
We analyze data from a variety of official sources including the US Bureau of Census, US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Transportation, Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, US Department of Health and Human Services, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development,, Minnesota Department of Revenue, US Internal Revenue Service.
Use JOBS NOW's innovative Family Wage & Budget Calculator to find out how much a family must earn to meet basic needs in your county, as well as the number of job openings and median wage by occupation. Calculate your results now.
The Cost of Living in Minnesota Report, published at two- to three-year intervals, shows the hourly wages required to meet basic needs the share of jobs in each region that pay less than the required wage. Download the full Report in PDF.
Read a one-page cost of living fact sheet for your region
- Minnesota Statewide
Covers all of Minnesota.
- Greater Minnesota
Provides a weighted average of all regions, excluding the seven-county metro region.
- Northwest Minnesota—Region 1
Covers Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau Counties.
- Headwaters—Region 2
Covers Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen Counties.
- Northeast Minnesota—Region 3
Covers Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis Counties.
- West Central Minnesota—Region 4
Covers Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, and Wilkin Counties.
- North Central Minnesota—Region 5
Covers Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena Counties.
- Southwest Central Minnesota—Region 6E
Covers Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, and Renville Counties.
- Upper Minnesota Valley—Region 6W
Covers Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine Counties.
- East Central Minnesota—Region 7E
Covers Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties.
- Central Minnesota—Region 7W
Covers Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright Counties.
- Southwest Minnesota—Region 8
Covers Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock Counties.
- South Central Minnesota—Region 9
Covers Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan Counties.
- Southeast Minnesota—Region 10
Covers Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona Counties.
- Metro—Region 11
Covers Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties.
Explore our Job Vacancy Fact Sheets.