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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.

Family Wage & Budget Calculator

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.

Cost of Living in Minnesota Report

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.

Fact Sheets

Read a one-page cost of living fact sheet for your region

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